By Hugh Acheson
I love ratatouille. It screams “summer” in all the right ways and is a great place to put pounds of your garden’s bounty. When the tomato and squash harvests are getting a little out of control, this is the best way to use them up.
Recipe from The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson. Order your copy here.
Hugh Acheson’s Southern Ratatouille
- 1 globe eggplant
- 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large yellow summer squash, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds
- 1 large zucchini, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds
- 1 red bell pepper, diced1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped pickled green tomatoes or dill pickles
- 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes and place them in a large bowl. Cover with cold water, add the ascorbic acid, and stir well. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Then drain the eggplant and pat it dry with paper towels to blot up as much of the water as possible.
Find the largest sauté pan in your arsenal and place it over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and when the oil is shimmery-hot, fry the eggplant, in batches, being wary of overcrowding the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes a side, until the eggplant is golden and just about cooked through. As the batches finish, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggplant to a plate lined with paper towels. When all the eggplant is cooked, discard the oil that you just worked with and clean out the pan because we’ll be using it later.
In a mixing bowl, toss the sliced squash and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and fine sea salt to taste. Place them on a large baking sheet and roast in the hot oven for 5 minutes, until just tender. Remove from the oven and set aside, still on the baking sheet to cool.
Take the cleaned sauté pan and place it over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and when the oil is hot, add the peppers to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the eggplant, squash, and zucchini. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes to bring the flavors together.
Cut the tomatoes in half and grate them into a bowl using a box grater. Discard the tomato skins. Pour the grated tomato into the pan of vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped pickled green tomatoes and fine sea salt to taste. Stir to combine, and finish with the torn basil leaves and black pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipes reprinted from The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits. Copyright ©2015 by Hugh Acheson. Photographs by Rinne Allen. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.