Cynthia LeJeune Nobles
July 04, 2012
Makes 6 to 8 servings. Adapted by Cynthia LeJeune Nobles from a recipe by Sir Robin Hixson in LSU Press’ forthcoming “Delta Queen Cookbook.” Ratatouille originated in southern France’s Provençe region, where produce is abundant. It is cooked in stages and layered, resulting in a dish with a rich texture.
2 lbs. eggplant, peeled and diced
3 medium zucchini (1½ lbs. total), peeled and diced
¾ cup olive oil, divided
2 onions (1 lb. total), thinly sliced
3 bell peppers (1½ lbs. total), any color, seeded and cut into thin strips
3 large tomatoes (1½ lbs. total), peeled, seeded and diced
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic (3 minced and 1 whole, peeled)
2 bay leaves
1 small bouquet garni (fresh parsley, thyme and oregano tied together in a cheesecloth bag)
1. Place eggplant and zucchini in separate nonreactive bowls (glass or stainless steel). Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside for 20 minutes.
2. Heat half of the olive oil in a skillet. Add onions and cook until onions are soft but not brown. Remove onions from skillet.
3. Add bell peppers to skillet and sauté, then remove from skillet. Drain eggplant. Add to skillet and sauté, then remove from skillet. Drain zucchini. Add to skillet and sauté, then remove from skillet.
4. Pour remaining olive oil into a heavy-bottomed pot. Add layers of vegetables in the following order: onion, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Add minced and whole garlic, bay leaves and bouquet garni. Cover and cook for 1 hour over gentle heat, being careful not to let vegetables stick to bottom of pot. Serve hot or cold.