One of my favorite aspects of living in Charlottesville is how overflowing the farmer's market is in August. Stands are filled with squash, peaches, and enough tomatoes to eat them on almost everything. Once this time rolls around I have one dish on my mind: ratatouille. I featured ratatouille on the blog a few years ago, but recently altered my cooking method for a more classic french style. The tomatoes create a light sauce, and there is far less prep work involved. I love it with pearled couscous and a little sour cream, but it would also work well as a side dish served with your favorite grilled meat. What are your go-to meals during the summer?
2 small eggplants cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 red pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 small zucchini cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 large yellow squash cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 yellow onion minced
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup chiffonade basil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Place eggplant in a colander and toss with a tablespoon of salt. Allow eggplant to drain in the sink for 20 minutes.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and saute eggplant until golden brown on all sides. Remove from dutch oven and set aside.
Add additional 2 tablespoons olive oil to the dutch oven along with diced onions. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash and saute until golden brown (add more olive oil if necessary). Add garlic and herbs and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and eggplant and reduce heat. Cover dutch oven and cook until tomatoes have softened and a sauce has formed. Garnish with basil and serve warm.