Ratatouille – Provencal Summer Vegetables

Ratatouille, the classic Provençal vegetable dish. After coming home from the market with a bounty of summer vegetables this was the first dish that came to mind. Simple to make and lasts for days in the fridge just getting better as the flavors meld. Here black olives are added to the traditional recipe giving a richness and depth reminiscent of Italian caponata. Serve hot or cold; as a side or with crusty bread for a light lunch or summer supper.

Based on the recipe Ratatouille in Recipes from Provence by René Husson

Oil for sautéing vegetables
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb eggplant, cut in ¾ inch cubes, skin on
1 lb zuchinni, cut in ¾ inch cubes, skin on
2 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 medium red or yellow pepper, ¾ inch dice
1 medium green pepper, ¾ inch dice
½ cup good quality pitted black olives
1 t herbs of Provence
Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium and sauté until the onion starts to sweat and soften about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and the herbs of Provence. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and gently simmer the vegetables for about 1 hour. Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes or so to allow some of the liquid to evaporate so that the ratatouille is not too soupy. When the vegetables reach the desired tenderness add the olives and stir to heat through. Correct the seasoning and remove from the heat. Let sit to for at least an hour to meld the flavors. Can be served cold, hot or at room temperature.

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