From Moreton Neal’s Remembering Bill Neal (2004). The recipes in this book are wonderful, none more so than Bill Neal’s Ratatouille. What a treat it is to find ratatouille in our fridge. It can be served warm or cold.
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 red, green, or yellow bell peppers
2 zucchini, sliced into rounds or thick strips about 2 inches long
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped ripe or canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried coriander
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (optional)
Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain over the sink for an hour.
While the eggplant is draining, cut the onions in half lengthwise and then horizontally. Slice the onion pieces thinly and in a large sauté pan sauté in 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon to a Dutch oven. Cut the peppers up into thick slices and sauté until just tender, adding a little more oil if necessary. Remove to the Dutch oven. Add more oil and sauté the zucchini until lightly browned on both sides. Drain the zucchini on paper towels and then add to the other cooked vegetables.
When the eggplant has finished draining, rub dry in paper towels and then sauté with the garlic in the remaining oil. Stir or shake the pan regularly to prevent sticking. Add the eggplant and garlic to the Dutch oven along with the tomatoes and herbs (except basil). Simmer over low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. (If the vegetables are sticking, add a little water, red wine, or tomato juice.) Season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature, garnished with fresh basil if you like.