Classic French Mixed Vegetables
- Servings: 4.
This recipe is for the traditional French mix of vegetables. In this version we cook each ingredient separately so that flavors and textures stay distinct and you avoid making everything mushy which often happens when they're cooked together. The only ingredients that are sautéed are the onions and zucchini, which cuts down on any oiliness.
You can take liberties with the amounts and have more or less of each vegetable depending what you prefer and how much of each you have on hand.
Ratatouille is a classic Provençal dish that is wonderful when served with lamb or fish, but it can also be the main course in a vegetarian meal served with a short pasta like penne or couscous. It also travels well so it can be perfect to take to work for lunch.
- 2 large red peppers
- 1 large yellow pepper
- 4 medium tomatoes or 6 plum tomatoes
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into a medium dice
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into half-inch slices
- 1 eggplant or 2 small Japanese eggplants, left unpeeled and cut into one-inch cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400º F.
- Place the cubed eggplant on a rimmed sheet pan and roast until softened, about 15 minutes. They will shrink in size as they cook.
- Rinse and dry each pepper and place on a rimmed sheet pan and place in the oven. Roast the peppers until they have charred and blistered and the flesh is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. These can cook alongside the eggplant, either on the same pan (push each to one end of the pan because some moisture will be thrown off) or on a separate sheet pan.
- Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a large bowl and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap to seal. Let the peppers sit in the bowl for about 15 minutes; this steaming helps the skin loosen. Remove the skin from the peppers, as well as the cores and inner seeds and fibers. Cut the peppers into large squares. Do not use water to rinse off the charred skins as this will remove much of the peppers' wonderful roasted flavor.
- Peel each tomato by first submerging it in a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds until the skin loosens. Plunge the tomatoes into a bowl of iced water to stop any cooking. Remove the peels and chop roughly, saving the seeds and juice.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic slices and cook until softened and just beginning to take on color (do not brown). Remove from the pan and hold aside.
- Using the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and place over medium high heat. Add the zucchini slices and cook until soft and browned. Return the onion and garlic to the pan and combine.
- Add the chopped tomatoes with their juices, peppers, cubes of eggplant, thyme, a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper. Gently combine so that everything is mixed but the elements don't get mushed together. Cover, lower the heat to medium low, and gently simmer for about 15 minutes.
You can either serve this immediately or make it up to a day in advance and gently re-heat or serve at room temperature.