October 4, 2012

not ratatouille (part two - the eats)

The hardest part about the market is restraining myself from buying every vegetable in sight...seriously. I think of this as a kind of market anxiety and while my counterpart can usually snap me back to the reality of what we actually need, he can vouch that I suffer from this very real disorder. 

Not really blending in, but I think I prefer it that way. I was inspired by this recipe, because it isn't as labor intensive and decided which vegetables to pick up depending on what looked best that day (which was pretty much everything) 

So seasonal, pretty & fresh. And now, the recipe.
Not Ratatouille - serves 4
*I recommend tweaking to feature whichever vegetables you prefer, are ripe and in season.

2 med eggplant, diced, tossed w/2 tsp salt & set in colandar to drain for 20 min. Pat dry w/paper towels
3 sm sweet market peppers, diced
 sm ripe market tomatoes, diced
1 lg squash, halved, seeded (run a spoon down the stringy/seed part and discard), diced
2 sm yellow onions, diced
1 bunch basil tied with kitchen twine (I was told this was the last week for basil...got lucky)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (I use 1+ tbsp, but prefer a kick...so use to your taste)
1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp olive oil, divided in half
3/4 c freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

The nice thing about this recipe is the chopping can be done in advance, and the dish improves with age. The chopping takes some time so factor that in, and you need to be over the stove a good 30 min. It's all worth it!

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a cast iron skillet over med-heat. Add patted dry eggplant to pan & cook, stirring frequently until golden (4-5 min). Season with salt. If eggplant sticks to pan, add a bit more oil (but you don't want to make it soggy). Remove eggplant when done and set aside.

2. In the skillet, pour in 2 more tbsp olive oil. Add onions & garlic & sautee until translucent (~5 min). Add garlic, basil bunch, chili flakes, and 1 tsp salt. Cook for a few more minutes, add peppers and cook a few more minutes, then add squash and cook 2 more minutes.

3. Add tomatoes & 1 tsp salt, cook around 10 minutes, add eggplant and cook 10-12 min more (at this point, season with chili & salt to taste)

4. Remove basil & stir in butter & parmesan until melted  & blended. Taste & season if needed. Server warm or room temp.

Photos © Brian Sorg

Of course, a meal celebrating summer deserves a special bottle so I used the occasion for one I had saved from lancaster estate wineries, bringing back fond memories of their gorgeous winery & a wonderful family trip. Even my soph wanted in on the festivities.

**Extra thanks to three sisters garden & iron creek farm  because it was their tasty vegetables that really made this dish shine!

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