Ratatouille with Sun-Dried Peppers

Since my family visited me just over a week ago, the time has flown by! I began my summer research in the vineyard again for my second field season, so I have been incredibly preoccupied. That means it's been a lot of long days out in the sun already, but at least I am getting my vitamin D and an excuse to drink delicious coconut water, nature's Gatorade! It's so nice to be outdoors instead of in the classroom, despite the heat.

Now that it feels like summer, it's zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant time! I know that for many there will be an overabundance of each of these crops, so to get ahead of the game here is a special twist on ratatouille, a classic French vegetable stew. This version is special because it uses the sun-dried peppers I got from nuts.com, which are much softer than sun-dried tomatoes. They are also sweet peppers, not spicy ones. You could easily substitute sun-dried tomatoes, just soak them in boiling water until they are pliable. This recipe will really help you get a huge serving of vegetables in, and it's a great way to feature those summer vegetables.

Beautiful, fresh eggplant!
Ratatouille with Sun-Dried Peppers
Printable Recipe

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 eggplant, cut into a large dice
1 medium onion, diced
2 small zucchini, cut into a large dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup diced sun-dried pepper (can substituted sun-dried tomatoes, but pour boiling water over them and let them soften for about 15 min, then drain and chop)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat, then add the eggplant and cook until softened but not browned. Remove it from the pan and set aside.

2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the onion and zucchini and cook until soft. Add in the garlic and cook for about a minute before returning the eggplant to the pan along with the tomato, basil, oregano, and dried peppers. Cook for 20 min, stirring occasionally, until soft.
3. Season the vegetables with the vinegar, salt, and pepper, to taste and cook further 5 min. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,