Leave it to the French to make a hearty and comforting dish out of inexpensive summer vegetables. We college students ought to take note that a proper cooking method can produce beautiful cuisine, even with humble ingredients. The toasted, caramelized flavors of each individual vegetable add to the nourishing essence of this dish. It deserves a try, especially because it is so easy to make. In fact, I once saw a rat make ratatouille and manage to win over a stubborn food critic.
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced in 1 inch cubes
2 small squash (yellow or zucchini), sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 Roma tomatoes, cored
5 cloves of garlic, roughly diced
1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
More salt and pepper to taste
- Place the eggplant in a colander with 1 tablespoon of salt. Drain the water from the eggplant then pat dry with paper towel.
- Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or dutch oven, and sauté eggplant and zucchini over medium heat until browned.
- Remove zucchini, eggplant, and oil from the pot. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and saute onion and garlic until they soften and begin to brown.
- Add the tomatoes and continue to sauté until they begin to shrivel and caramelize.
- Turn heat to low. Return the zucchini and eggplant to the pot, add the sprigs of thyme, and allow the ratatouille to stew over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Allow to cook like this for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes have rendered their juices and broken down.
- Season with salt as needed throughout cooking, and finish with pepper to taste.
- Serve topped with fresh basil. This can be served hot or cold,l and often tastes better the day after it is cooked.