Ratatouille is a light Provencal medley of eggplant, onions, sweet peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. Enjoy with scrambled eggs or omelettes for breakfast or brunch, or for dinner with grilled or roasted meats, poultry or seafood. Typically served hot or at room temperature, Ratatouille is very refreshing on a blazing day with a good dose of lemon juice to perk things up.

1/2 cup olive oil
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Sea salt to taste, or fennel thyme salt blend
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 pound onions (about 3 medium), sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thick 
1/2 pound sweet peppers, red, orange or yellow, cut into 1/2-inch dice 
4 large garlic cloves, minced 
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice 
1 pound tomatoes (about 3 medium), cored and cut into 1-inch pieces 
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Cayenne or de Arbol ground chile pepper, to taste, optional
Lemon wedges, optional
Black olives, pitted and sliced, optional

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large nonreactive skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the eggplant, season with pepper and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened, tossing often. Remove to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 1/4 cup oil to the skillet. Add the onions, sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt and some black pepper. Stir, cover and saute for about 20 minutes, uncovering to stir often, until the onions are soft with very little color. Uncover and add the sweet peppers and garlic. Sprinkle with another good pinch of sea salt and some black pepper. Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes more, uncovering occasionally to stir.

Add the zucchini, season with another pinch of sea salt and some more black pepper. Stir, cover and cook another 5 minutes, stirring often. Uncover the skillet, add the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, chile pepper if using, and reserved eggplant. Stew for about 1 hour, with the cover askew, stirring often.

When done, remove bay leaf, and transfer the ratatouille to a bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more sea salt, pepper, and chile if needed. At this point, the ratatouille is ready to eat. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a few black olives over the top.

If you would like to serve chilled. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Recipe and Photograph Copyright Deirdre Davis 2016
Use of content requires permission.

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