I’m writing to you all from a Starbucks in Amsterdam as I wait for my flight to France. By the time this is published, I will have already reconvened with my grandmother, aunts/uncles, and sister, and am eating some kind of vegetable stew that my grandmother made. It’s rare that a winter night can go by without an abundance of vegetables on our plates; soups, stews, ratatouille, you name it!
Although I originally photographed this recipe in September of 2015 (over a year ago), this recipe is still relevant, mostly when it is cold and windy in northeastern US. I had hesitations to post it last year because I questioned “do people actually eat a lot of vegetables or is it just my family?”. What led me to question this was the fact that the common diet for many people today is low in vegetables and high in other fillers (such as starch, processed foods, and sugars). What I thought was an average portion of vegetables for me seemed beyond thinkable for many of my friends. But after a year of pondering, I can to realize that this dish is more than just a plate of vegetables but it is an entire meal for the quintessential winter evening.
I have always admired ratatouilles because they can be enjoyed all year round. In the summer, we eat cold ratatouilles with a lot of zucchinis and eggplants. In the winter, we warm up our ratatouille and add heartier vegetables (and can even be topped with a piece of meat for all you carnivores). Though the recipe I am sharing today is more so of a “Summer Ratatouille”, it can still warm you up during the wintery nights.
During my stay in France, it’s highly likely that I will eat a ratatouille of some sort. While I sink my teeth in the hot, softened, and oh-so flavorful vegetables stew, I’ll be thinking of everyone back at home, hoping that they eat their way out of their winter misery with this dish.
3 tbs of olive oil ( more if necessary)
1 large eggplant
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
1 pound of grape or romano tomatoes1 sprig of fresh rosemary2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thymesalt and peper to taste
Poor 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy cast iron pan
Add the cubed eggplant and stir until the eggplant softens a bit
Remove eggplant from pan and set aside.
Add another 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add diced onion, cook until translucent and then ad 3 cloves of garlic. Cook a bit longer until the garlic roasts a bit.
Put the eggplant on top of the onions, add cubed zucchini and tomatoes cut in pieces.
Make sure the vegetables have already released some juice and cook on low for 30 to 45 minutes. If there is not enough liquid in the pan, add a bit of water or more tomatoes.
Don’t forget the herbs: I usually use fresh rosemary and thyme plus salt and pepper.
Other vegetables you can add-depending on the season: peppers,carrots, butternut squash, potatoes.