Late summer is the best time of year to make a pot of ratatouille and everything you need is fresh at your farmer’s market now. Like all my favorite recipes this is very flexible. More zucchini and less yellow squash, not a problem. Less eggplant and more bell peppers would work just fine, too.
It’s quick to put together and is one of those wonderful dishes that tastes even better the next day. A bowl of ratatouille is great on its own and we love it over rice, too. We often sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top but this time we tried something new.
Friday evening we had curry at Martin’s and we asked him about the crushed red peppers he keeps on the counter. We love the smoky heat they give our meals. I asked him what made them different than the usual crushed red peppers you sprinkle on pizza. When he told me he fried them I knew I had to try that for myself. While making the ratatouille I decided to go ahead and try frying a cup of peppers never planning to use them on our meal. But they smelled so amazing together that we had to give it a try. Oh my goodness it was such a great combination!
Chop into half inch dice:
1 medium Eggplant
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
Place into a bowl or salad spinner and salt generously. The vegetables will “sweat” any bitter liquid out while sitting.
Meanwhile, mince and sauté in a large pot or dutch oven:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion
1 large red bell pepper
4 cloves of garlic
Rinse the eggplant, zucchini and squash in cold running water and drain. Add to the pot and combine.
1 large can of tomatoes, diced (mine was 28 ounces)
Simmer 30 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and flavors have combined.
Fried Crushed Peppers:
1 cup crushed red peppers
1 tablespoon oil of your choice
In small pan sauté peppers slowly until they just start to change colors. Watch carefully so they don’t burn and take off heat as soon as they start to brown. They will continue to brown a bit as they cool in the pan so give it a stir occasionally as they cool. Store in a glass jar and sprinkle on ratatouille to taste.