L to R: Kale, Slicing Cucumbers, Pickling Cucumbers, Scallions, Squash, Green Beans, Beets, Eggplant, Peppers, Chiles, Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes.
This is seriously Ratatouille season. I still have zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes from last week’s share, and they were destined for marinara sauce, but then #CookForJulia happened, so I changed course. No worries, there is still plenty of vegetable matter available for that elusive marinara sauce. This weekend is supposed to be somewhat cool and wet, perfect weather for some serious cooking and canning. Excellent.
I suspect there is a ratatouille recipe for every French grandmother who makes it. Julia was neither, and even she wrote two completely different recipes; one in Mastering The Art of French Cooking, and one in The Way To Cook. The one I prepared today is from MTAoFC. Any way you slice it (har har har), ratatouille is a labor of love, but that’s good, because that’s what it tastes like when you’re done.
1 lb eggplant, 1 lb zucchini, 1/2 lb yellow onion, 2 bell peppers, 2 garlic cloves, 1 lb tomatoes, 3 T minced parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The eggplant and zucchini slices are lightly browned, the onions and peppers are softened, garlic and s/p added, tomatoes layered on top and cooked gently to release their juices. The ingredients are layered into a “flameproof 2 1/2 quart casserole”, which I, in the spirit of adventure (and Julie Powell) translated as “my big saucepan”. After some simmering and basting, the juices are simmered away to nothing, leaving you with a richly flavored and scented eggplant stew. The eggplant suffers a bit color-wise, but it tastes great. I have never tried Julia’s recipe in The Way To Cook, but I can tell you she put a lot more tomato in that one. And of course, I have made this one, which is strangely easier because I can crank out the sliced vegetables on the mandoline. Julia’s version gives me the opportunity (!?) to practice my mad knife skillz.
So I’m going to move on to my second glass of wine, some TV, and dreams about what I’m cooking for Julia tomorrow. See you then.