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Fall recipes: Ratatouille

It's Saturday, meaning there's a great farmers market near you. And if you're in the Midwest, like me, those days are numbered! So take advantage of it!

What should you make tonight using your bounty? There are plenty of apples, so maybe some pork and apples for a main? Maybe a delicious apple crisp for a dessert? How about something that reminds you of warmer days? Fall is in full force in Michigan, making this farmers market ratatouille a good choice to warm you up on these now chilly nights. While it’s typically a summer dish, the starring ingredients—the vegetables—should still be easily found at the farmers market. Michigan is a prolific producer of agriculture, so this dish celebrates not only the pure flavors of the vegetables (the only seasonings are salt, pepper, garlic, fresh herbs and a little sweetness such as honey--luckily a there's a honey vendor at your market) but also what Michigan has to offer. Frying and sauteing before cooking the whole lot down adds more depth of flavor to the dish.

Ratatouille makes a hearty meal when just cooked, served over pasta and rice. And for an extra treat, sprinkle some Parmesan on top.

Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggplant
  • 2 zucchini
  • A few springs of thyme and a good handful of parsley
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 peppers* see note
  • 1 big onion
  • A couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A little bit of honey or sugar

Balsamic vinegar 
Directions:

1. Slice the eggplant and zucchini into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place into a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.

  • 2. After 30 minutes, blot dry each piece with a paper towel. Fry them in some olive oil over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Let cool.
  • 3. Meanwhile, chop the peppers, onion and fresh herbs. Saute the onion and peppers in some more olive oil until tender in a big heavy pot. While that's cooking and making your kitchen smell awesome, core and seed the tomatoes.
  • 4. When the onions and peppers are tender, add the tomatoes. While that's working, dice up the eggplant and zucchini and add to the pot. Toss in the garlic, thyme and parsley (save some for garnish). Swirl in a bit of balsamic vinegar.
  • 5. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring it up occassionally.
  • 6. Ten minutes before it is done, sprinkle a little bit of sugar OR put about a teaspon of honey in the pot. Stir it up and cover again.
  • 7. Dig in!

* You don’t have to use boring old green or red bell peppers (not that there is anything wrong with that but variety is the spice of life!). At the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, look for different colored peppers, such as a chocolate or purple peppers. This has nothing to do with the fact that it tastes like dessert or it’s dipped in chocolate; it’s just the name. These colors would look great in this ratatouille!

 
 

 

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