Summertime claims a bounty of sunshine-kissed vegetables — a cornucopia of tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplant that beg to be place to use. This is not a trouble. The trick is to lean in and count on recipes that embrace and rejoice the abundance of produce. One tried-and-legitimate 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 past, I never ever adopted a recipe for ratatouille — I simply winged it and collected whichever provencal greens have been on hand, then sauteed and simmered them with each other in a tomato-streaked stew. The effects were being commonly thick and warm with a saucy compote regularity. Recently, however, I have taken a fresher, recipe-pushed route, many thanks to the chef Alice Waters.
In her ratatouille recipe, Waters cooks each and every vegetable independently as she slowly but surely combines them into the stew. Her method showcases each vegetable and purposely retains them intact, lightly sure jointly by the juice of fresh new tomatoes. The spices are refined, and the stew is infused with refreshing basil, tied collectively in a simple bouquet garni (clean herb sprigs tied with kitchen area string), which is simply fetched and taken off from the pot at the end of cooking. The result is a dazzling and refreshing ratatouille, neither muddled nor extremely sauced, and a beautifully light, summery enhance to any food.
I have tinkered just a tiny with the recipe, which includes thyme sprigs in the bouquet garni and finishing the ratatouille with a splash of fruity balsamic vinegar and a great deal of black pepper for kick. This dish is greatest eaten in just a working day to preserve its contemporary flavors. Attempt to hold the vegetables as uniform in dimensions as feasible when slicing and dicing.
Produce: Serves 6 as a side dish
1 globe eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds, reduce into 1/2-inch cubes
1 significant yellow onion, diced
2 crimson bell peppers, seeded, diced
2 slim zucchini or yellow squash, halved lengthwise, lower 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 new thyme, tied collectively with kitchen string
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Refreshing basil leaves, torn, for garnish
Location the eggplant in a colander. Generously season with salt and toss to coat. Location the colander in a bowl or in your sink and allow stand for 30 minutes. Blot the eggplant dry with paper towels.
Warmth 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook till delicate and tinged golden, about 8 minutes. If the pot dries out too immediately, insert a lot more oil as necessary. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.
Include 2 extra tablespoons oil to the pot. Increase the onion and cook in excess of medium warmth right up until delicate, 4 to 5 minutes. Incorporate the peppers and continue to cook till the peppers are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Include the squash and cook dinner till dazzling and crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes far more. Stir in the garlic and purple pepper flakes and cook dinner until eventually fragrant, about 1 moment. Incorporate the tomatoes and the bouquet garni and cook dinner for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Stir in the eggplant and carry on to cook until eventually all of the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take out and discard the bouquet garni. Add the balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and black pepper, and style for seasoning.
Provide heat or at home temperature garnished with basil.