Ratatouille is a French Provençal dish made of stewed veggies. During the height of summer, all of the veggies used in this dish are in season, so they’re plentiful and super tasty. You also end up paying less versus buying them when they’re not in season. For all of these reasons, stock up on the veggies, make a big batch of ratatouille, freeze into smaller portions, and enjoy these wonderful summer flavours in the months to come!
SERVES 4 TO 6
Use organic ingredients when possible
2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, 4 cloves minced, 1 left whole for the garlic bread
4 x Chinese eggplants or 2 x regular eggplants* (2 pounds total), cut into ¾-inch cubes
4 to 5 medium zucchinis (2 pounds total), cut into ¾-inch cubes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp dried herbes de Provence or dried thyme leaves
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 yellow or red bell peppers, chopped (for added dimension of flavour, roast them first)
1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes
4 to 6 large eggs (one per person)
A handful fresh basil leaves, torn
8 to 12 slices homemade bread or artisan sourdough bread
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or light spreading of grass-fed butter on each slice of toast
In a Dutch oven (or other heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid), heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the eggplant, zucchini, rosemary, and herbes de Provence or dried thyme. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Pour in ¾ cups water, then cover the pot and simmer until vegetables begin to soften, stirring once, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peppers; simmer, covered, another 5 minutes.
Crush the tomatoes by hand and add them to the pot; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes to concentrate the flavours. (Cool and store for a make-ahead meal.)
In the last 5 minutes of cooking or so, prepare the garlic bread. Toast the slices of bread in the oven or toaster. Immediately after toasting, rub each slice all over with the whole clove of garlic. Drizzle each slice with extra virgin olive oil or spread lightly with grass-fed butter. Set aside.
If serving immediately, turn the heat back up to medium for the ratatouille. Make 4 or 6 nests/wells in the ratatouille and crack an egg into each nest. Cover the pot and cook the eggs to desired doneness, about 2 to 5 minutes. Scoop the ratatouille and eggs into shallow bowls and top with torn basil. Serve with the garlic bread.
*NOTE: I find Chinese eggplant is perfect in this application because it has thin skin (saves you in peeling time) and less seeds (which equals less bitter) compared to the regular variety you find at the grocery store. Chinese eggplant is long and thin with light purple skin. If you can’t find Chinese eggplant, you’ll have to peel the regular type in strips and toss in salt to coat then drain in a colander for 30 minutes before you add it to the ratatouille. This step is necessary to draw out any bitterness from the eggplant.