Like many, we suffer from over-buying at the farmers’ market. It’s easy to do. Adorable baby eggplant beg to be taken home, and we’re suckered into a dozen. End-of-season heirloom tomatoes gives us the this is your last chance look so we fill our bag with every size and color. And throwing the squash on the grill sounded like a great idea on a beautiful sunny fall day, only to have the skies open up and pour on our culinary parade. So, like you, we find ourselves with more of these veggies than we can handle. When this happens we think ratatouille.
Ratatouille is a classic French Provençal vegetable stew typically consisting of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, garlic, onions, and herbs. The variations, from how it’s prepared (simmered or baked) to which vegetables are included, are many. This is a rustic dish that is lovely over rice, pasta or simply with a nice crusty bread. Best of all, it's a great dish to use up all those bulk vegetables!
We served our ratatouille Moroccan-style and ladled it over fluffy couscous. A few dollops of a smoky harissa (a spicy North African pepper-based paste) took this delicious vegetable dish to new heights! We love the dried harissa blend available on WorldSpice.com, or buy on Amazon here.
Simple Baked Ratatouille
Makes 1 9x9 casserole
12 Japanese (small) eggplant
8 small squash, yellow or zucchini (ends trimmed), sliced 1/4-inch thick and on the diagonal
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Herbes de Provence or a bit of marjoram, basil, thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
5 large tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
Place whole eggplant in a baking dish and roast, covered in a 400° F oven until soft, about 40 minutes (depending on the size of eggplant)
Slice squash into 1/4-inch thick disks. Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add a glug of olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons), and toss in the squash. As the squash begin to brown add the white vinegar. Continue cooking until golden brown.
While the squash is cooking, slice the tomatoes about 1/4-inch thick and set aside.
Place cooked squash in the bottom of a baking dish. Season with herbs, salt and pepper then top with eggplant. Lay the tomato slices on the top and pour the canned tomatoes over to cover.
Top with breadcrumbs and place back in the oven for about 20 minutes and when the top is nicely browned.
Serve it Moroccan-style over couscous and garnish with harissa.