The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.
~ William Makepeace Thackeray
A vegetable bouquet melting into a slurred rainbow…
This is my (modified) rendition of Molly Wizenberg’s ratatouille (included in her book “A Homemade Life”):
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Cut an eggplant into circles, brush both sides of the eggplant circles with olive oil (use your hands if you are lazy) and arrange them in a single layer on a lined baking tray. Pop the tray into the oven and let the circles get tender and brown (but not as brown as some of mine! See below.) It should take approx. 20-30 minutes, depending on how thick your circles are. When they are done, let them cool slightly and cut into wedges (I just quarter each circle).
While the eggplant is cooking, cut your veges. Smash garlic cloves. Cut zucchinis into semi-circles. Chop tomatoes. Strip rosemary branches, save the leaves and toss the rest (if using fresh – I didn’t have any last night, so I used dried rosemary and some dried basil). Dice capsicums. Chop onions, if using (I didn’t have any last night, so I just added more tomatoes. Just go with the flow).
Set a deep saucepan on the stove, add a mini slosh of olive oil, and fry the zucchini semi-circles till lightly golden. Rescue and set aside. Add a little more oil into the pan if the pan is dry, then throw in the capsicum squares, onion (if using) and garlic, fry till the fragrance begins to cling to your clothes and the capsicum begins to sweat. Add the tomatoes, rosemary and any other herbs you are using. Salt and pepper it as you wish. Toss in a bay leaf for good measure. Stir, smell, watch the colours swirl… lower the heat, cover for five minutes. Add the eggplant and cooked zucchini. Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes, until all the vegetables are nicely cooked.
There will be plenty to share, or to refrigerate and enjoy the next day (this is one dish that actually makes for amazing leftovers).
I like to make this when I have one or two people over for dinner, or when I’m alone. When alone, I tend to boil some pasta, poach an egg, stir in the ratatouille and eat standing by the window as the sun disappears behind the hills.