Summer's Iconic Dish, Ratatouille

Ratatouille is an iconic summer dish, and the New York Times' Melissa Clark includes it as one of ten dishes that every modern cook should master.  This is the perfect time of year to make ratatouille, when gardens are full of squash and eggplant and tomatoes and dinner tables demand the flexibility of eating things hot or cold. It's a dish that I have been making for so long that I can't remember the exact origin of every detail,  but I do remember Alice Waters' suggestion for a basil bouquet.

Makes 8 servings

- Ingredients -
2  medium eggplants, chopped into 1/2 " cubes
2 onions, chopped into 1/2 " cubes
6-8 chopped garlic cloves
2 peppers (orange, red or yellow) chopped into 1/2 " cubes
2-3 summer squash, chopped into 1/2 " cubes
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 " cubes
olive oil
salt to taste
fresh basil ( tie several stalks together with kitchen string)

- Tools - 
Weston French Fry and Vegetable Cutter   (makes easy work of chopping)

How To 

Chop eggplants, sprinkle liberally with salt and let drain in colander for 15 minutes

Heat 1 1/2 T of olive oil over medium in dutch oven 

Rinse eggplant, pat dry and add to olive oil. Cook until golden brown and remove from pan

Add an additional splash of olive oil and cook onions until soft

Add peppers and squash as well as garlic and basil and cook for 10 minutes

Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes; add eggplant back to pan and cook until vegetables are soft 

Remove basil bouquet before serving

Season with salt and pepper as well as chopped fresh basil

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