casual cooking and living
My friend Eva, make my day with a basket of vegetables, the results of the summer harvest in her garden. The basket was filled with beautiful eggplants, zucchini, squash and tomatoes. I remembered how my mom Ceil, would love to make ratatouille every summer using these same ingredients. It was a staple barbecue side dish, when we were in the height of summer. I've tried different variations and this by far is my favorite and reminds me the most of mom's only with a few extra ingredients to kick up the volume on the taste. Tyler Florence really has the ultimate recipe, so no need for me to mess around. I've offered a few suggestions below for ingredient options. For example, instead of opening a tin of anchovies, I always keep a tube of anchovy paste handy in the fridge. I like how the paste just melts into the dish as an ingredient. I made this over the weekend and used the leftovers the next day for pasta. Celebrate the summer harvest using this recipe!
Line a large platter with paper towels. Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the eggplant, season generously with salt and pepper, and let that cook down for 10 to 12 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and wilted. Remove the eggplant from the pan and onto a platter to drain. Next stop, zucchini: cook it the same way in 1/4 cup oil, then add it to the platter with the eggplant.
Add another 1/4 cup olive oil to the pan, then the anchovies or paste, onions, garlic and herbs. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions get nice and caramelized. Add the tomatoes and cook that down for 10 to 12 minutes, until pulpy. Return the eggplant and zucchini to the pan, crack open the chile, and add that too or season with red chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper and let the ratatouille cook slowly for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is soft, mushy and juicy; you want all the flavors to come together. Stir in the vinegar and let cool to room temperature.