Thursday, August 29, 2013


Here's my rendition of the dish made recently famous by those Disney rata-tat-tats. (You may notice I can't even say the name of that rodent.) As noted in the movie, it's a dish from France, and is a beautiful mixture of the vegetables that make their show at summer's end. This veggie dish is great served hot as a side dish with any number of meats, fowl, or fish. However, my favorite way with it is to serve it quite cold, as a salad, either alone or scooped in a lettuce cup. It also packs and travels well, making it a nice choice for a picnic.


1 eggplant, peeled and sliced crosswise in 1/2 inch slices
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise in 1/2 inch slices
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, or several small peppers, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs fresh basil
1 tsp fresh oregano
1-2 Tbs white wine or chicken stock, if needed
salt and pepper as needed

Directions: Slice the eggplant and zucchini, then sprinkle salt on both side of each slice. Let the slices sit for 15 to 20 minutes, while you prepare the remainder of the vegetables. Heat the oven to 400F. Chop the onion, peppers, and tomato into similar size pieces, about 1/2 inch cubes. The thought is to have all the vegetables about the same size. After the eggplant and zucchini have been sitting, the salt will have drawn out some of their moisture. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Lay the eggplant slices on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet that's been lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Cover the slices with another piece of foil, then roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the eggplant is just tender.

Cut the zucchini strips into 1/2 inch strips, then cut again making 1/2 inch cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the zucchini, onion, pepper, tomato, and garlic to the pan and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the herbs, and wine or stock if the dish begins to get too dry and stick to the pan.

Remove the eggplant from the oven, and cut the slices into 1/2 inch cubes. Add the eggplant to the sauté pan and continue to cook, covered, for another 5 minutes or so. Taste, adding salt and pepper, if needed.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Eggplant is one of those veggies that can suck up cups of olive oil, and still stick to the pan. However, I've just discovered non-stick aluminum foil, and put it to good use in this recipe. It completely eliminated the need for olive oil when cooking eggplant! Enjoy this much lighter version of ratatouille.

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