To be honest I really didn't like eggplants until fairly recently but now I find I can't stop cooking them. Generally ratatouille a lovely late summer treat so I'm slightly ahead of the game (this rarely happens) but I found the most gorgeous looking baby zucchinis the other day and couldn't resist. Try this heavenly stew heaped on thick slices of toast with slabs of salty feta cheese over the top or on a bed of quinoa topped with thickly sliced avocado and a drizzle of olive oil, it's a delight I promise. Oh and don't forget to have a lovely glass (or two or three) of hearty red wine on the side (don't judge, just remember I have four teenage daughters).
If you can find them, the addition of fresh herbs makes all the difference. Our basil in the garden is just getting going and finding it hard to keep up with the demand. You can never have enough basil in your garden. In an ideal world I'd really like a couple of lemon trees too but we tried that and they didn't like the New York climate :(
This recipe makes a lot of ratatouille which is great if you're feeding a crowd., if not halve the recipe. It does keep for a good 2-3 days in the fridge and the flavors just keep getting better.
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large eggplant, cut into chunks - skin left on
4 small zucchini's, cut into chunks
2 red peppers, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
A healthy handful of fresh oregano, basil and parsley (plus more for garnish)
2, 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven heat the olive oil on a low heat and saute the onions for at least 10-12 minutes until caramelized. Sprinkle over some sea salt as they're cooking as it will help prevent them from burning.
2. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the lemon juice and zest. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer away for about an hour. Stir from time to time to make sure nothing is sticking or burning or boiling too rapidly, you want a nice gentle simmer and eventually the vegetables all meld into each other.
3. When the vegetables are cooked add the lemon zest and juice. Top with more fresh herbs to serve.