Thursday, August 21, 2008


From 2008-food

Last summer I first started to fall for eggplant. I had always disdained them except when disguised under mounds of cheese in eggplant Parmesan. I'd reluctantly eat a few spoonfuls of baigan bharta when my sister made dinner. Baba ghanoush was just a sad substitute for hummus. Then on a warm summer evening in Washington D.C. at Zaytinya--I tried Ímam Bayildi, roasted eggplants with tomatoes and onions. It was creamy, fragrant with garlic...basically, really good! I'm not sure why I started liking eggplant, but I've bought them almost every week this summer and made steamed eggplant with lemon vinaigrette, thai curry with eggplant, sauted eggplant with lots of olive oil, baba ghanoush, (broiled eggplant from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites--it wasn't very good), and now ratatouille.

Ratatouille is a wonderful late summer dish since zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, and bell peppers are abundant and perfectly ripe in the farmer's market at this time of the year.

Makes about 3-4 cups (enough for 2 main courses or 4 as sides)*

3/4 lb small eggplants (preferably the long, skinny ones, but any kind should be ok)
3/4 lb zucchini (any kind--I used a mix of pattypan and eight ball)
1 large onion
1 large bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)
4-5 large cloves garlic, coarsely sliced
2 medium tomatoes
2-3 tbsp good olive oil
fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, chives) or dried thyme and oregano
salt and pepper
a little tomato paste (probably 1/2 - 1 1/2 tsp)

some additional fresh herbs and grated fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

  1. Cut up eggplants, zucchini, onion, and bell pepper into medium to large dice (bite size).

  2. Boil some water, cut an X through the skin in the base of the tomatoes, and boil for about 30 seconds each. Remove the tomato skins. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.

  3. Heat the oil on medium high heat in a large pan, preferably a large, enamel-coated, cast iron dutch oven. Add all the vegetables except tomatoes and brown them.

  4. Once they start to brown lower the heat a bit and continue to saute until the onions are softened and translucent. Add some salt and pepper to taste (I think I used about 1/2 - 1 tsp total) during this time. At this point add the tomatoes and any herbs you want (I'm guessing about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh or 1/3 that amount dried). Once the tomatoes cook down more, taste, and if the mixture doesn't take 'tomato-y' enough, add some tomato paste, 1/2 tsp at a time. Continue to cook until all the vegetables are softened, covering if necessary and/or adding some water to un-stick anything from the base of the pan.

(adapted from Smarter Than Pancakes's version and Mark Bittman's in How to Cook Everything)

  • I'd use the full 3 tbsp since eggplants absorb a lot of oil.
  • While fresh herbs are the best for this dish, dried thyme works fine, too.
  • Parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese make a nice garnishes.
  • Should easily double, though you may want to brown the veggies in two batches (using half the oil each time) to make sure they brown vs just steam.
  • Amount of vegetables is flexible. I used roughly equal amounts of eggplant and zucchini and slightly less onion and bell pepper.
  • As Shaye suggests chickpeas would be a good addition for protein. Also her suggestions to use as a main with polenta, rice, or quinoa or as a filling for omelettes sound good, too. :)


Shaye said...

Yay! I love seeing my name in print! ;)

By the way, the new Vegetarian Times (October 08?) has something like 27 gluten free recipes. If you want, I'll list them for you. Just send me an email at Shaye 3333 @ and I'll email them back.

My Diary said...

aha, a bowl of food.... yummy


Related Posts with Thumbnails