Every August I travel to my family’s vacation home in Maine. I’ve been doing this my whole life and now I’m continuing the tradition with Quentin. One of my favorite memories of Maine was my grandmother’s amazing cooking. She worked hard all afternoon to create wonderful dinners that would bring the family together. In the mornings, we would go to the local farmer and choose the seasonal vegetables and fruits and even sometimes pick our own.
This summer in Maine was an amazing blend of swimming, nature walks, and farm to table cooking. One of my all-time favorite end of summer meals is Ratatouille. I have put my own spin on the French classic, and making it extra special was using my grandmother’s well-seasoned “pie in the face” clay pot. Sadly, the clay pot broke but the Ratatouille came out great!
1 lb zucchini
1 tsp of salt (or to taste)
1-2 cups of diced onion (1 large onion)
1 green pepper diced
1 lb of tomatoes, seeded and diced
¼ cup of basil
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
Heat the oven to 400. Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/4″ round disks. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown (about 20 minutes).
In a large deep skillet or casserole pot, sauté the onion in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the garlic and peppers and salt and pepper. Next add the zucchini and cook until golden.
When onion mixture is done, add the cooked eggplant (roughly chopped) and the tomatoes.
Cover the casserole dish and cook for 15 –20 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the basil and thyme. If the ratatouille is a bit acidic from the tomatoes, you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar to round out the flavors.
Top with fresh basil and toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds.