One thing I thank a long ago boyfriend for is introducing me to ratatouille. He used the Joy of Cooking recipe, but added ground beef and cumin. That radically changes it from the vegetable casserole in the Joy. Both are equally, but differently, delicious. The Joy describes it as looking “like a very successful Braque still-life” (Rombauer & Becker). So here is the original recipe with changes in italics and strikethroughs.
Joy‘s Eggplant Casserole or Ratatouille Provençale
Peel, slice and salt* 1 medium eggplant (2 1/2 cups diced)
*To get of excess moisture: slice eggplant cross-wise, about 3/4-1 inch thick. Lay slices on paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Leave about 10 minutes, then turn over and salt the other side. Let sit another 10 minutes. Rinse, pat dry, then dice. (I do not peel the eggplant.)
Put in a deep skillet 1/4-1/3 olive oil
Sauté until golden:
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
- 2 cloves garlic (pressed or minced)
- 1/2 cup whole pitted black olives
- 4 julienned green (and/or red) peppers, seeds and membrane removed
- 3 cups zucchini in 1/2 inch slices (about 3 medium)
- 2 cups
skinned, seeded,quartered tomatoes (or whole, fresh or cooked)
Add drained eggplant. Sprinkle the mixture with olive oil.
Add 2-3 tsp ground cumin, more or less, to taste.
Simmer covered over very low heat about 45 mins. Uncover and continue to heat 15 mins. longer to reduce the amount of liquid. Add salt and a grating of fresh pepper.
While it’s cooking, make steamed rice. Serve hot – on a bed of rice – or cold with cultured sour cream.