During the height of the summer, gardeners are harvesting bucket loads of tomatoes, aubergines, capsicum and zucchinis. They are the most fabulous combination when slow baked as a Ratatouille.
Olive oil 2 large onions 4cloves garlic 2 large aubergines 6 – 8 zucchini 1 large red capsicum 1 large green capsicum 6- 8 ripe tomatoes 3 bay leaves Salt and pepper Brown Sugar
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Pour a couple of glugs of olive oil into a wide, deep casserole dish– Pyrex is excellent. Chop onions into strips, cut aubergines into largish cubes, add them to the dish and toss them in the olive oil to coat. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes with the lid on. Stir once or twice.
Meanwhile, chop capsicum into squares, zucchini into fairly chunky rounds and peel the garlic and chop it fine. Add these ingredients to the dish when the aubergine and onion have been done for 25 minutes and are starting to soften. Sprinkle some herb salt and freshly ground black pepper and chuck in a bay leaf or three. Put the lid back on and pop the casserole back in the oven and allow another 30 minutes baking time.
Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl, leave for 5 minutes and then peel the skin away. Chop into rough chunky bits, place in a bowl and sprinkle some brown sugar over them.
Add to the casserole, toss well (the French word ‘touiller’ means ‘to toss food’ – that’s where the name Ratatouille comes from)and place in the oven again for another 20 minutes – with the lid off.Turn the oven off and leave the casserole in the oven with the lid on until ready to serve.
This makes a fantastic meal on its own, served with some crusty bread, polenta or rice, or as a side to almost any meat dish. It is also fantastic mixed through pasta and sprinkled with parmesan. Those who like things hot can sprinkle some chilli devils over the dish. Yum!
Wairere Nursery 826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: Open 7 days 8:30am-5pm