Thursday, May 22, 2008



The recipe I've been using lately is an adaption of the one at Ruth's Kitchen. This is a variation on the Julia Child method in which each vegetable is sauteed separately; here, the eggplant and squash are roasted in the oven, which both involves less oil (a minor concern in my view, but still good to know) and lets you cook things simultaneously instead of sequentially so that it doesn't all take three thousand years to get done. It also tastes lovely.

1 pound of summer squash sliced into 1/8" slices
1 to 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into about 1" cubes or slightly larger
3 T. olive oil
1 1/2 pounds onions, halved and cut into thin slices
2 green peppers, sliced
3 cloves mashed garlic
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and juiced, then cut into 1/2" strips, or the same amount of good canned diced tomatoes
3 T. basil, torn
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange the zucchini and eggplant pieces in a single layer on two oiled cookie sheets. Brush the vegetables with olive oil, and bake until they are a little toasty all over. Meanwhile, saute the onions and peppers slowly in the remaining olive oil until they are soft and limp. Add the garlic. Dump the tomatoes on top of the peppers and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook 5 minutes. Uncover, baste with the tomato juices, turn the heat up to medium-high, and let the mixture boil for several minutes without stirring, until most of the juice has evaporated.

Now arrage the vegetables in your dutch oven or the like. Put one third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of of the pot. Sprinkle a third of the basil over top. Then arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half of the remaining tomatoes and basil. Finally spread the rest of the eggplant and zucchini on top of this, and finish with the remaining tomatoes and basil. Cover the pot and simmer undisturbed for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and correct seasoning if necessary. Raise the heat and cook for another 15 minutes, basting -- not stirring! -- if the top gets dry. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold, warm, or hot. Makes lots.

Dan's notes: What does this make? It's a funny layered thing, hard to serve right- do you serve it as a layered thing or as a big mush? Whatever it is, it's tasty- I'm not sure what it is that I did special, but the tomato mix does come out like a pickle or relish or something, and zucchini's always good. Basil is important, I think.

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