by guest blogger Martine Bertin-Peterson,
I return from my weekly trip to the Doylestown Farmers Market with my basket overflowing with fresh produce, much more than I can possibly consume in a few short days. That is when I prepare a large pot of ratatouille.
Ratatouille is a very “forgiving” dish – the recipe can be modified to accommodate the quantity of vegetables on hand. Have an extra pepper? Throw it in. An extra zucchini? No problem. Fresh herbs really brighten the dish, but dried will work, too.
Ratatouille is traditionally served as a side dish, but I think it is fantastic over pasta in place of a more traditional sauce. The beauty of ratatouille is that it can be served hot or at room temperature and it freezes well.
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1″ dice
2 medium zucchini, sliced into ½″ rounds
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, cut into 1″ dice
1 green pepper, cut into 1″ dice
3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1″ dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs minced fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tbs minced fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 handful of fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 Tbs dried)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs coarse salt, or to taste
1 tsp ground pepper, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large non-stick fry pan (preferably a well-seasoned cast iron fry pan), sauté the zucchini over medium heat in 2 Tbs olive oil until light brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove zucchini to an ovenproof casserole.
- In the same pan, sauté the onion, green and red peppers and garlic until softened, adding 1 Tbs of olive oil as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, remove vegetables to the oven-proof casserole.
- Sauté the eggplant for 3 minutes, adding 1 Tbs olive oil. (Note: The eggplant rapidly absorbs oil. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to add drops of olive oil as necessary to prevent the eggplant from sticking or burning.) Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggplant to the oven-proof casserole.
- Add the diced tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to the casserole and toss gently to combine. Bake in pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 6-8 as a side dish.
Martine Bertin-Peterson has the best of both worlds. She organizes amazing culinary trips to France, focusing on food and wine, and she teaches how to make simple, Mediterranean-inspired dishes in her cooking classes here in Bucks County.