Ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable stew. It’s a dish that you can serve time and again, knowing that it has an alphabet of Mediterranean healing foods that range from basil to zucchini. It does require a little bit of preparation, but you’ll have enough for a week. It’s great by itself, as well as folded into omelets or spooned over chicken, lamb or pasta.
*Choose organic produce whenever possible*
- 4 large eggplants, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon light olive oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- 2 zucchini, sliced ½ inch thick and halved
- 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into ¼-inch slices
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes, drained
- Leaves from 1 large bunch of basil, torn in half
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Place the eggplant in a large colander in a clean sink or over a plate and sprinkle with the salt and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, zucchini and peppers, and toss until they are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic. Rinse and dry the eggplant. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the eggplant and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the basil, parsley and thyme and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Serve from the pot. Serves 8.
© 2010 by Stephen Sinatra, MD, Jim Punkre and Rebecca Bent. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Bottom Line Books.