Harvest’s Bounty In A Dish
I first heard of Ratatouille* when I watched the Disney Movie by the same name. What a cute little mouse. In the end, he made this wonderful dish that has them singing his praises (oh I hope I haven’t spoiled it for anyone). And that made me curious about what this wonderful dish was. So last year when I had a bounty crop of eggplant and was looking for new ways to use it, I ran across a recipe for ratatouille.
Actually, I ran across several. Each one different from the next. Some think it should be stewed. Some think it should be baked*. And one even though each vegetable should be sauteed separately, then combined. WHEW! that sounds like work!
What is ratatouille?
Ratatouille – pronounced rat-tat-tooie – is an old world dish. It was likely made at the end of the long summer to use up the surplus. A time when the tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and zucchini are just going crazy and you are saying “what am I going to do with all this?” I am sure that was the birth of ratatouille. Ratatouille loosely translated means ‘tossed food’. Sounds real appetizing, doesn’t it? But in a sense that is exactly what you do. You cut up all this bounty from your garden, farmers market, or the grocery store, and you toss it in a Pan*. You will need a good sized one. Add a few onions and herbs and let it all saute down into these creamy, soft, melt in your mouth bites of Yumm. This is real comfort food.
There are as many ways to make this dish as there are people to make it. Everyone puts their own spin on it, depending on what they have on hand and what their preferences are. Some people bake the sliced layered vegetables with a bit of a sauce. It is prettier this way. And you can leave the vegetables al dente if that is what you prefer. But others, like me, prefer the stewed version where the vegetables all cook down into a soft ragout of melded flavors and creamy goodness. And goodness it is too. This is a vegan dish. With lots of different vegetables, each lending its own group of nutrients to the mix.
A friend of mine from Church, last week told me, she was starting a vegan diet for health reasons. I immediately thought of ratatouille and promised her the recipe. You can’t get much more healthful than this, and yummy too. Although it takes a few minutes to cut up all the ripe, fresh vegetables, there is nothing difficult or complicated about ‘throwing food’ in a pan and letting it stew until dinner is ready. It is so warm and filling and satisfying! This is a dish that is wonderful served both warm or cold. And make sure you make plenty because it is even better the next day. I love to take a large dish of ratatouille for my lunch. Because it is made exclusively of vegetables it is very low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals and all the good stuff your body needs. Because you leave all the skins on (well not on the onions and garlic silly) it has a fairly high fiber content too. So go get busy and make up a batch and then listen to all the raves. You deserve all the credit. After all you were the one who ‘tossed the food’.
Before I give you the recipe I just had to let you know the news!
My ducks have started to set.
We have 2 nests with eggs that are ‘in the works’. With momma ducks taking turns sitting on them. This is my first ‘setting’ so we will see how it goes. If we have a good outcome I’ll have photos here starting in approximately 37 days. I’m so excited! Ducklings are soooo cute!
Ok, Ok I’ll give you the recipe now!
- 2 Tablespoons Oil
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion
- 6 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Cups Diced Eggplant, Skin On
- 2 Cups Diced Bell Pepper, any combination of colors
- 1 1/2 Cups Diced Zucchini
- 1 1/2 Cups Diced Tomato, Skin On
- 1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Basil (or 1 1/2 teasp. Dry)
- 1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Parsley (or 1 1/2 teasp. Dry)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Chopped Fresh Thyme (or 1/4 teasp. Dry)
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- In large frying pan over medium heat, add Oil, Garlic and Onions.
- Cook stirring until they are lightly caramelized. About 5 minutes.
- Add Eggplant and Zucchini, cook about 5 minutes more.
- Now add the Peppers, Tomatoes and herbs Cook 15 minutes until soft and liquid has mostly evaporated, stirring occasionally. Serve hot or cold.
- Serves 4 - 3/4 Cup Servings
- Easily Doubled
P.S. After I made the sliced version, I went ahead and baked it. And I found I really liked it! Though I like the stewed version a lot. I may even like the baked version better! And my husband said, ” This isn’t the ratatouille I remember.” I said, “It’s the same just baked instead of stewed.” He decided we could definitely have baked ratatouille again! WooHoo! Now that’s a seal of approval!
Here is the Recipe for
The recipe is the same just slice the vegetables and alternately layer them in a baking pan. Sprinkle the Oil, Garlic and Herbs on top. Cover and bake 350° for 25 min (or until desired tenderness). Uncover the last 5 minutes. When I uncovered it, I sprinkled mine with Parmesan Cheese. And let it brown. MMMMM!
And Don’t forget to – Have a Ducky Day!
Recipe was inspired by Emeril and Thelocalbeet.com.