Tomato Week: Ratatouille

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ratatouille: a crock pot full of garden goodness
You got to love the French for making a humble vegetable stew sound and taste delicious.  This recipe is a great way to serve and preserve bumper crops of tomatoes, zucchini and bell pepper. I made this using the tomatoes and bell peppers growing my my garden.  This year, my zucchini didn't seem to thrive so I needed to use store-bought ones instead.

I like adding sliced green olives stuffed with pimientos at the end for an extra special and flavorful accent.

I love eating this hot or cold.  Just last night I enjoyed it with a crusty French roll and sardines on the side.  You could also top it with Parmesan or goat cheese or use it as a hearty sauce for meat, fish or poultry.  It even works well over a cheese omelet. 

This recipe freezes beautifully, so you can enjoy this summer time treat on a cold and blustery winter day.

from The Best Slow Cooker Cookbook Ever

1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes (I leave the skin on for color and texture)
coarse salt
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 large red bell pepper or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch squares
3 medium zucchini, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons dried basil
2 garlic cloves, crushed through a press
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 5 1/2 ounce can pitted ripe olives, drained and chopped coarsely

Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Let drain in the sink 30 minutes to 1 hour. Press out excess moisture, then rinse with cool water and pat dry with paper towels.

Place the eggplant in crock pot. Add the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, olive oil, basil, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Mix well.

Cover and cook on HIGH about 3 hours or until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape.

Stir in the tomato paste and olives.

Serve hot, room temperature or chilled.  Refrigerate leftovers or freeze to enjoy later.

Buy The Best Slow Cooker Cookbook Ever at Barnes&Noble.com.

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