Summer time claims a bounty of solar-kissed vegetables — a cornucopia of tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplant that beg to be place to use. This is not a issue. The trick is to lean in and count upon recipes that embrace and celebrate the abundance of generate. A single tried using-and-accurate dish that does so is ratatouille. Ratatouille is the southern French staple that handily combines all of the garden’s goodies layered in a terrine or simmered in a chunky, aromatic stew.
In the earlier, I never followed a recipe for ratatouille — I basically winged it and gathered whatsoever vegetables ended up on hand, then sauteed and simmered them collectively in a tomato-streaked stew. The final results have been usually thick and heat with a saucy compote consistency. Lately, having said that, I have taken a fresher, recipe-pushed route, thanks to the chef Alice Waters.
In her ratatouille recipe, Waters cooks each and every vegetable separately as she bit by bit combines them into the stew. Her method showcases each vegetable and purposely retains them intact, lightly certain with each other by the juice of clean tomatoes. The spices are delicate, and the stew is infused with clean basil, tied with each other in a very simple bouquet garni (new herb sprigs tied with kitchen string), which is simply fetched and eradicated from the pot at the finish of cooking. The result is a dazzling and fresh new ratatouille, neither muddled nor overly sauced, and a properly mild, summery complement to any food.
I’ve tinkered just a tiny with the recipe, which includes thyme sprigs in the bouquet garni and ending the ratatouille with a splash of fruity balsamic vinegar and plenty of black pepper for kick. This dish is greatest eaten inside of a working day to maintain its refreshing flavors. Test to maintain the vegetables as uniform in dimension as achievable when slicing and dicing.
Produce: Serves 6 as a side dish
1 world eggplant, about 1 1/2 lbs, slice into 1/2-inch cubes
1 massive yellow onion, diced
2 purple bell peppers, seeded, diced
2 slender zucchini or yellow squash, halved lengthwise, reduce into 1/2-inch thick moons
1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
4 sprigs contemporary basil and 2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied alongside one another with kitchen string
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Contemporary basil leaves, torn, for garnish
Area the eggplant in a colander. Generously period with salt and toss to coat. Put the colander in a bowl or in your sink and let stand for 30 minutes. Blot the eggplant dry with paper towels.
Warmth 2 tablespoons oil in a huge pot above medium warmth. Include the eggplant and prepare dinner right until smooth and tinged golden, about 8 minutes. If the pot dries out also promptly, add additional oil as wanted. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.
Insert 2 additional tablespoons oil to the pot. Incorporate the onion and prepare dinner more than medium warmth until eventually gentle, 4 to 5 minutes. Insert the peppers and continue on to prepare dinner till the peppers are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Increase the squash and cook till vibrant and crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes additional. Stir in the garlic and purple pepper flakes and prepare dinner until eventually aromatic, about 1 moment. Include the tomatoes and the bouquet garni and prepare dinner for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the eggplant and keep on to prepare dinner right up until all of the vegetables are smooth, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring often. Take away and discard the bouquet garni. Insert the balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and black pepper, and taste for seasoning.
Provide heat or at space temperature garnished with basil.