Wednesday, September 06, 2006
When I mixed this together I had plans to make an entirely different dish, but my vegetables on hand were eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and half of a huge greenish curved ridged thing that my sister referred to as a 'zucchini' when she left it with me. At times ingredients will take you where you didn't know you were going and this collection insisted on being made into ratatouille.
This classic has many interpretations - stove top, oven, even grill. I like it quite dry, so I start the vegetables on the stove top til browned and then finish them in the oven. This time I did not have black olives, which improves it immensely - tried capers as a substitute for the olives, but I recommend sticking with olives. If you don't have pre-mixed herbes de Provence, use a mixture of rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil, oregano...at least make sure there is a good note of thyme or rosemary. To my nose, they are the essential French smelling herbs.
Cut into medium dice one eggplant, three medium tomatoes, one large onion, one large red pepper, and two small zucchini (or half a teenage mutant ninja zucchini). In a very hot, nearly dry frying pan slightly char the peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and onion in batches, emptying each batch into a wide roaster. Add tomatoes to roasting pan along with two handfuls of black olives, if you have them, and drizzle vegetables with 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs salt, 4 cloves chopped garlic, and 1 tbs herbes de Provence. Roast in a low oven for forty minutes or so until vegetables are all tender and the flavours are blended. Serve with something to soak up the juice, like rice or couscous. Eat hot like this or at room temperature; it doesn't really like to be reheated.