Zucchini is such a great veg…and it’s a good thing because if you grow it, you’ll have plenty of reason to find ways of loving it. It’s one of those plants that, if it likes where it’s planted, it will produce soooo many zucchini – so much that your kids will be saying, “zucchini again?”.
But fear not. I am here to help.
If you’re buying zucchini instead of growing it, remember to look for nothing over 7-8 inches and make sure the skins are not tough. Keep them in a crisper no longer than 3-4 days and make sure they stay dry. You can steam them, saute them, stuff them, put them on a pizza, in a sandwich or grate them like this to keep in the freezer for a great cake later.
But we are here to talk Ratatouille!
This is a pretty simple recipe that is so versatile in itself. Ratatouille is a “sort of” french vegetable stew. It always has tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, onions, garlic and herbs but there are so many variations that it is mind boggling!! There are a myriad of ways to prepare it from layering and baking to chopping and stewing but, in the end, the flavours always shout “Mediterranean yumminess”!!
Aaaand, don’t get all bent out of shape when you’re making this. Let’s throw caution to the wind and not get hung up on measuring. If you like onions, add more. If you’re not crazy about peppers, leave them out…you get it, right?
So, let’s get cooking. When you taste this, you will be gobbling up your veggies without blinking an eye. And, wait until you realize what you can do with the leftovers (pssst…ratatouille soup!)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, chopped (salt it if you like for 5 minutes over a colander to release water – I don’t always do this but feel free if you like)
2 small onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 small zucchini (you can use yellow or green)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tomatoes, chopped (or you can use about 1 c salsa or tomato sauce)
For an Italian twist, use the basic recipe with tomato sauce with a handful of chopped tomatoes, 1/2 c parsley, chopped black olives, capers, pinch of oregano and chopped and cooked Italian sausage.
For an Asian twist, use basic recipe but add a few spoons of sesame oil instead of olive oil, 1/2 c chopped mushrooms, 2 tbsp soy sauce, a grating of fresh ginger and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
For a Provencal twist, use the basic recipe but add a spoonful of pesto, chopped nicoise olives, and a few anchovies chopped
1. Get all of your veggies chopped and prepare your mis en place (“everything in place”…makes cooking easier!).
2. In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil; cook the eggplant until the skin begins to soften – remove from pan and set aside.
3. Next, add the onions and peppers until softened; then add the garlic and zucchini.
4. As the zucchini start to soften, add the tomatoes and sauce/salsa and add the eggplant back in. Cook until combined (about 10-15 minutes).
5. Serve immediately as a side dish to meats or fish or serve with a poached egg…
…like this. It makes an awesome, heart vegetarian meal and the yummiest breakfast in town!
Make a double or triple batch of this and freeze it in ziploc bags. Just defrost and re-heat to serve however your heart desires!