This time of year ratatouille is the perfect dish. All of the ingredients are in season and and the peak of their tastiness. Their are many many variations of ratatouille.
I kind of made it up as I went along. I read through the recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food on Saturday morning and then tossed it together at my parents house out in Sodus.
2 small Eggplant (Calliope eggplant from the CSA)
1 large Zucchini
1 large Yellow Squash
2 large Tomatoes (some incredibly tasty heirloom varieties)
8 cloves Garlic
6 Cippolini onions (2 regular onions)
Slice the Eggplant, Zucchini and Yellow Squash on a mandolin or v-slicer if you have one. A knife will work just fine you just want to get the slices as even as possible. Cut each slice in half so you have a big pile of half moon shaped veggies. Chop the onions and garlic and set aside.
Pre heat your oven to 375 and completely oil a casserole dish. Starting with tomatoes make layers of tomato, onion and garlic, squash, zucchini and eggplant. Sprinkle salt, pepper and herbs every other vegetable or so. Once your casserole is full to the top drizzle with a bit more olive oil and bake at 375 for an hour or more. You want the vegetables to be fully cooked and soft but still hold their shape.
If you want more of a stew, don't take the step below.
At 40 minutes or so of cooking, pull the ratatouille and press down with a spatula, drain off some of the accumulated liquid and return to the oven to complete cooking.
It is more of a texture thing for me, I like my vegetables to be a little more dry and retain more of their independent flavors and textures. Stew just doesn't say summer to me so I like this is more of a side that is perfectly at home on a paper plate versus something that really needs a bowl. I think I may experiment with all the veggies in this dish this week and slice and freeze them together for a nice winter ratatouille.