Summer season guarantees a bounty of sunlight-kissed greens — a cornucopia of tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplant that beg to be put to use. This is not a trouble. The trick is to lean in and depend on recipes that embrace and celebrate the abundance of deliver. A person tried using-and-accurate dish that does so is ratatouille. Ratatouille is the southern French staple that handily brings together all of the garden’s goodies layered in a terrine or simmered in a chunky, fragrant stew.
In the previous, I never ever followed a recipe for ratatouille — I basically winged it and gathered regardless of what Provencal greens were on hand, then sauteed and simmered them alongside one another in a tomato-streaked stew. The final results have been ordinarily thick and heat with a saucy compote consistency. These days, nonetheless, I have taken a fresher, recipe-driven route, many thanks to Chez Panisse founder and component-time Bolinas resident Alice Waters.
In her ratatouille recipe, Waters cooks every vegetable independently as she gradually combines them into the stew. Her approach showcases just about every vegetable and purposely keeps them intact, lightly bound alongside one another by the juice of clean tomatoes. The spices are subtle, and the stew is infused with fresh new basil, tied collectively in a very simple bouquet garni (fresh new herb sprigs tied with kitchen string), which is easily retrieved from the pot at the conclude of cooking. The result is a vivid and clean ratatouille, neither muddled nor overly sauced, and a properly light, summery enhance to any meal.
I’ve tinkered just a minimal with the recipe, such as thyme sprigs in the bouquet garni and ending the ratatouille with a splash of fruity balsamic vinegar and lots of black pepper for kick. This dish is very best eaten within just a working day to protect its new flavors. Test to hold the veggies as uniform in dimension as probable when slicing and dicing.
Serves 6 as a aspect dish
1 globe eggplant, about 1½ lbs ., lower into ½-inch cubes
Excess-virgin olive oil
1 big yellow onion, diced
2 pink bell peppers, seeded, diced
2 narrow zucchini or yellow squash, halved lengthwise, slash into ½-inch thick moons
4 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
4 sprigs new basil and 2 sprigs clean thyme, tied collectively with kitchen string
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves, torn, for garnish
Area the eggplant in a colander. Generously period with salt and toss to coat. Location the colander in a bowl or in your sink and permit stand for 30 minutes. Blot the eggplant dry with paper towels.
]Warmth 2 tablespoons oil in a substantial pot above medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook until finally delicate and tinged golden, about 8 minutes. If the pot dries out way too swiftly, increase extra oil as desired. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.
Insert 2 far more tablespoons oil to the pot. Insert the onion and cook in excess of medium heat until finally comfortable, 4 to 5 minutes. Increase the peppers and keep on to cook dinner until finally the peppers are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the squash and cook dinner till dazzling and crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes much more. Stir in the garlic and crimson pepper flakes and prepare dinner until aromatic, about 1 minute. Include the tomatoes and the bouquet garni and prepare dinner for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in the eggplant and carry on to cook till all of the greens are delicate, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once in a while. Clear away and discard the bouquet garni. Increase the balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt (or to style) and black pepper, and taste for seasoning.
Provide warm or at space temperature garnished with basil.
Lynda Balslev is a San Francisco Bay Location cookbook creator, foodstuff and journey author and recipe developer.