I am pretty happy with the way my garden is doing this year. The credit is due to most oldest son who is a vegetarian and natural food fanatic. He really labored in the garden in the spring and we are now enjoy the fruit of his labor. I picked some beautiful bell peppers from the garden and two nice ichiban eggplants. I decided to make a ratatouille with these ingredients as the base.
Ichiban eggplants are originally from Japan. They are great in a dish like this because the skin is thinner than regular eggplants and they are not as spongy, so they keep their shape in the vegetable stew. I used canned tomatoes because my tomatoes have not arrived in abundance yet. The sugar is to balance the acid of the tomatoes and to curb any bitterness there might be in the eggplant. If you prefer you can substitute a grated carrot. I served this dish as a side to grilled lamb chops.
Fresh From the Garden Ratatouille
2 T olive oil
2 ichiban eggplants or 1 regular eggplant
2 green peppers
1 medium onion
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes or 6 peeled, seeded diced plum tomatoes
2-4 nice sprigs of fresh thyme
1 c. water
1 t. sugar
salt and pepper
Leave the skin on the eggplant. Cut the eggplant, green peppers and onion into a uniform dice about of about 1/2 inch. Put the olive oil and the onions into a cold pan. Turn heat onto medium, add a bit of salt and sweat the onions. When they are clear, add the rest of the vegetables, the water and thyme. Simmer over medium covered until vegetable are tender, about 45 minutes or so. Taste. Add sugar if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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