So the abundance of zucchini in my garden has forced me to create yet another recipe with this green marrow. Thankfully, I was able to disguise them in a ratatouille, which meant less glib remarks from family members for using baby marrows. That is what a zucchini is called here in South Africa. My baby marrows are more like baby giants but that is neither here nor there. They are green, sausage-like and are identical in taste, though as they grow bigger, their pits also grow so those need to be removed prior to cutting or grating.
Ratatouille is one of my favorite dishes due to its versatility and summer goodness. Peppers, eggplants (aubergine), tomatoes and courgettes (zucchini) all share the same growing season so it is natural that when combined would create such a tasty dish. The use of garlic and olive oil is an added bonus to the recipe.
This dish originates from the Provence area of France and can be prepared in a number of different ways. I have chosen to cheat a bit, to speed up the process and reduce the mess in the kitchen. I layer the vegetables as I cook them but keep them all in one large skillet. I am sure that Christian, my teacher from the Ritz, would give me an earful if I used this approach in his kitchen, but the final results are delicious.
I chose to serve this dish with grilled chops and roasted potatoes but ratatouille is very versatile. Serve it as a filling in crepes or over rice. Day 2, since you will have leftovers, freeze it or add a can of blended tomatoes and serve with fresh basil and cheese mixed into your favorite pasta.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 5 scallions, cut into 1cm pieces
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into small pieces
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 16), quartered
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar; more to taste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large, heavy-based skillet, heat about 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over high heat. Add the bell pepper and scallions and sauté until lightly browned, about 4 min. Add the remaining oil and the eggplant.
- Reduce the heat to medium high and sauté the eggplant until just barely tender, about 4 min.
- Add the zucchini. Continue cooking, stirring often, until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 min.
- Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, and thyme.
- Cook until the tomatoes are heated through.
- Remove from the heat.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Serve warm.