Caramelized Summer Vegetable Ratatouille
Right now in my refrigerator and on my counters I have: eggplant, onions, shallots, garlic, tomatoes, basil, and red and green peppers. Flipping through my beloved Mediterranean cookbook, trying to figure out what to do with the bounty, I saw a recipe for ratatouille. I’ve never eaten ratatouille before, but it looked delicious, and I wasn’t about to let my lack of zucchini stop me from trying it.
However, the recipe I had looked pretty labor-intensive and called for cooking the vegetables separately and to different degrees. I didn’t have time for that today, so I broiled the entire dish until it was soupy, charred, and aromatic.
I’ve yet to try ratatouille, but I assume this dish is very similar. It has a thick, stew-like consistency, and a delicious, sweet aftertaste. It makes a great vegetarian entree or a side dish, either with a grain-like accompaniment or not. (I served it with quinoa.)
- 1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 onion, halved and sliced into quarter-inch rings
- 3 large (about 1.5 pounds) tomatoes, cored and seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste (about a teaspoon and quarter teaspoon, respectively)
- Preheat your broiler to high (if you have that option) and move the oven rack so that your pan will be about 5 inches from the heat source.
- Toss everything but the chicken stock together in a heavy-bottomed cake pan or on a good-quality sheet pan. I used a cast-iron roasting pan, and it worked awesomely.
- Broil the vegetables for 5-10 minutes, until those facing the heat begin to char.
- Stir the vegetables, and replace under the broiler until those facing the heat begin to char.
- Repeat until the vegetables have reduced by half.
- Remove from the oven, pour the chicken stock over the vegetables, and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 1 hour, or until the vegetable juices and chicken stock have thickened into a stew-like consistency or a veggie gravy.