Ratatouille – Summer’s Classic Vegetable Stew
Fall in love with this Provencal Vegetable Stew with bright colors and bold, mellow flavors.
A wonderful vegetable stew celebrating summer’s splendor. A plethora of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes simmered with herbs and spices.
Choose a wide pan to cook in, I like my cast iron, enameled paella pan. Cube the vegetables into 3/4 inch pieces.
Heat 1 T. olive oil in the pan over moderate – high heat. Add the eggplant, quickly stir to coat the eggplant. Sauté until golden and caramelized, about 5 minutes. HINT: Now, cover, lower heat and cook until tender, 5 minutes more. This step will give the best flavor and texture.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the shallots, garlic and zucchini. Stir well and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the next 8 ingredients (rosemary through filtered water.) Stir well, bring to a boil, then cover and lower to a simmer.
Simmer the stew for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Add the heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs, take off heat and enjoy!
As a side dish, stuff mushrooms, stuff zucchini, (look for 8 balls at farmers’ markets, cut in half) a filling for an omelet, top pasta or noodles, layer in a lasagne, top on garlicky bruschetta, add sliced olives, top with a herb/garlic bread crumb topping, garnish with toasted pine nuts… eat cold!
Add your favorite grains or beans to the ratatouille; top with a creamy or grated cheese and melt gently on top.
Stuff Mushrooms or Zucchini:
Clean and core your favorite mushroom. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Cook in a hot 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until golden. Drain any accumulated juices.
Cut zucchini suitable for stuffing in half. I have used “8 ball” zucchini (round shape.) Scoop out all but 1/2 inch of its wall with a spoon. Steam the zucchini until tender, yet still holds its shape, about 10 minutes.
Stuff Ratatouille into the cavities of the mushrooms or zucchini. Place in a baking pan to hold, reheat if necessary.
Top with Herb & Garlicky Bread Crumbs and broil until golden.
Quick Herb & Garlicky Crumbs:
3 T. dry bread crumbs (regular of gluten-free)
1 T. fruity extra virgin olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and grated
2 t. minced parsley
1 pinch salt & pepper
2 T. grated parmesan reggiano cheese (optional)
~ Mix all together, let sit for 15 minutes, top the ratatouille broil until golden.