The kids and I planted eggplant this year.
We picked our first purple orbs a couple nights ago. Instead of the first thing that came to mind (eggplant Parmesan), I did a little searching and came up with an idea: ratatouille.
Ratatouille(pronounced rat-e-too-ee) is a traditional French Provencal stewed vegetable dish which originated in Nice. Tomatoes are a key ingredient, as well as garlic, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, peppers, basil, and thyme.
Several recipes caught my attention. One said to grill each vegetable separately, then dice and combine. Another said to roast the veggies in the oven. Another said combine in a pot on the stove, then bake in the oven. I came up with my own method.
The result was a delicious dish that even FarmGuy enjoyed. FarmBoy ate it all up, too. Oldest daughter ate it, though not with vigor. Youngest daughter? Well … let’s just say it was a battle to the end, when she took a bite and grudgingly admitted it wasn’t bad. I guess when you’re a kid, there’s something wrong about admitting a dish of mixed vegetables is good.
Note: Time to use up extra squash and zucchini! It’s satisfying — and fun! — to throw so many fresh garden veggies into one pot. It looks gorgeous, too!
Farmgirl’s version of Ratatouille
3 eggplants, cubed
2 yellow squash, cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
1 can petite diced tomatoes and juice (fresh tomatoes are best, though!)
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic (more or less to your taste), finely minced
1/2 red onion, petite diced
few sprigs of fresh thyme
Drizzle olive oil on baking sheet. Cut eggplant into small cubes and put on baking sheet. Drizzle with more olive oil. Salt and pepper. Baked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn once with spatula. This helps soften the tough outer skin of the eggplant.
While eggplant is cooking, place minced garlic and diced onion in a stock pot with olive oil. When lightly browned, add can of diced tomatoes. Combine and simmer on low. Cut the rest of the vegetables and add to the pot with thyme sprigs. When eggplant is roasted, add to stock pot. Gently combine with a spoon. Simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes, allowing flavors to meld. Remove thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy this fun, colorful way to eat all your veggies!