We’ve posted before about how a frittata is our go-to dish for getting vegetables out of the refrigerator. In the late summer we have a second play out of that same playbook to use up vegetables that, quite frankly, aren’t our favorites.
I’m talking about eggplants, summer squash, and those bitter purple peppers. We have good recipes for all of them (maybe not the purple peppers), but sometimes out CSA just drops too many on us at one time, and by the end of the week the squash are getting rubbery and the eggplant feels leathery… you get the picture. Take a look at the picture about to see all that this recipe used up!
This ratatouille uses them up in quantity and although it doesn’t look like much that you’d be dying to eat (I asked Lindsay “are you sure you want me to take pictures?”), it’s actually pretty delicious and incredibly healthy to boot. Did I mention that it’s also easy?
There are a million variations on ratatouille, since it’s a common peasant stew that everybody’s mother makes in France. This one is very stew-like, and because the veggies are cut in thin strips, they take on a noodly quality. Other variations call for cubes, etc. Use your imagination. You can also control how watery you make it by adding fewer or more tomatoes. They provide most of the juice.
Makes 4 servings as a main or more as as side
|1 clove||Garlic||Crushed into a paste||Red Fire Farm CSA|
|1||Onion||Diced or minced (your call for texture)||Red Fire Farm CSA|
|1 TBsp / 1 Sprig||Fresh thyme||We were out or thyme, so we used fresh Oregano (any aromatic herb will do)||Red Fire Farm CSA|
|1||Eggplant||Sliced thin||Red Fire Farm CSA|
|1-2||Summery squash or zucchini||Sliced thin||Red Fire Farm CSA|
|2-3||Peppers||Sliced thin (no seeds), whatever color you have||Red Fire Farm CSA|
|3-6||Tomatoes||Cut into chunks (~eighths)||Red Fire Farm CSA|
|3 TBsp||Olive oil|
|To taste||Kosher Salt|
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mash the garlic into a paste if you like (it distributes better throughout the dish), or just mince it. I used a mortar and pestle so that I didn’t have to clean the food processor for a single clove. Chop the onion and slice the eggplant. For this dish we don’t peel anything in order to make it as easy as possible.
- Heat 2 TBsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme. Once the onions are translucent, add the eggplant and cook for about 5-8 minutes until the eggplant has thoroughly changed color.
- As the eggplant cooks in the pan, start slicing the rest of the vegetables. It’s OK if you have to turn off the burner and let the eggplant sit for a bit; it will be cooked more. I you like it watery, add more tomatoes. If you want it dryer, add fewer.
- Add everything to a large roasting pan and mix around with 1 TBsp of olive oil. We usually use a big Pyrex (pictured), but it’s probably best to use something ceramic because at the end it needs to go under the broiler and Pyrex is not rated for that and could fracture. We always forge tab out the broiler with this one until it’s already almost done. Don’t be like us!
- Cover the roasting pan with tented tin foil or a sheet of parchment paper. Try to prevent it from sitting directly on the vegetables. Bake for 1 hour.
- Remove it from the oven. Turn on the broiler (to high, if your oven has the option). Remove the foil / parchment paper. Add the pinch of sugar and salt to your tasting. Stir thoroughly. Place it directly under the broiler, uncovered, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, check to see if the top is starting to singe. If so, you’re done. If not, put it back for 2 minutes at a time until the top is as caramelized as you can get it without burning.