One of my favorites things to make each summer is ratatouille. Luckily our summers have foggy days so I don't mind being in the kitchen with the oven going. Now is a good time to make it because all of the ingredients are so good! Good tomatoes are key to this dish. I've developed my own version over the years and even my somewhat eggplant phobic daughter likes this.
1 large eggplant, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
lots of tomatoes, today I used about 1 pint large cherry tomatoes and 3 medium heirloom tomatoes, halved or chopped
Substitutions: summer squash, green, yellow or orange peppers, Japanese eggplants
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Make all the pieces of the vegetables about the same size. You will need a very large bowl or 2 large bowls to toss the vegetables in.
1/2 extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 large garlic cloves, pressed (I love garlic. Feel free to use less.)
1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together. Pour over chopped vegetables. Mix well.
Place the coated vegetables on a jelly roll pan. The pan will be heaped but the vegetables will cook down to about 1/3 of what you started with. As they cook they will release some juices but as they continue to cook and roast those juices will be absorbed and evaporate.
Cook for 20 minutes. Adjust heat if necessary. Stir the vegetables. Spin the pan if they are not cooking evenly. Cook for another 20 minutes and repeat until the vegetables are cooked down and become very soft and begin to caramelize, approximately 1 hour. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
Ratatouille is wonderful in crepes and omelettes or served along side grilled or roasted meats. I roasted bone in chicken thighs and made farro which I put under the ratatouille. It would be good with brown rice, pasta or roasted potatoes too.
Ratatouille is really good made in advance and improves the next few days as the flavors come together more. Some sort of alchemy occurs where the ingredients lose themselves and become part of something better. So even if you or someone in your family doesn't love eggplant or zucchini they might still like ratatouille.
I wish Abigail was here to eat with us but she is off to college in NYC learning to cook and fend for herself. Maybe she'll make ratatouille.