Our beloved friend Chef Anne makes a glorious ratatouille – not yet outlined on this blog. It’s coming, at some point, I promise. Until then, you’re stuck with mine, or really ours. The small Sterns, my sister and I, made this one rainy Sunday while multiple football games were playing on the big screen TV. We roasted a chicken (two actually) and had this as a side dish. It’s frightfully healthy, chock full of a zillion vegetables. My not-very-childlike children love this ratatouille, as does my health obsessed exercise maniac husband. I had leftovers and decided to throw them into a quiche. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
California Ratatouille (serves 6)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large eggplant or two Japanese eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (I prefer Maui or Vidalia onions for this dish)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise in ½ inch slices, and then cut into 2-inch long pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28-oz can peeled plum tomatoes (I prefer Marzano)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano (dried)
- 1 10-oz jar salsa verde (I prefer Trader Joe’s brand)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (I prefer Meyer lemons)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread ¼ cup olive oil on the foil lined sheet. Toss the eggplant cubes with the olive oil and the salt. Cover the baking sheet and the eggplant with foil. Seal tightly. Bake for 35 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Remove foil. Reserve.
In a large skillet or a large Dutch oven, heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Add the onion, red pepper flakes, zucchini, red and orange bell pepper, and garlic and sauté for 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring regularly. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, dill, basil, oregano and salsa verde and bring to a simmer. Simmer for ten minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add eggplant and lemon juice (and additional salt and pepper if desired). Simmer for ten more minutes. Serve as a side dish with roasted chicken or grilled fish.