I wasted no time starting up my CSA box again this past week after returning from a month long vacation in Korea, and I can't tell you how wonderful it was to fill my crisper with the freshest, in-season produce that nature has to offer. We signed up for bi-weekly again because it's more economical for the two of us while providing us with PLENTY to enjoy throughout the weeks.
When brainstorming for what to do with all this produce, I first like to focus on just one ingredient. Then comes the all important series of questions - "What pairs well with it (specifically what other CSA contents can I incorporate)? Keep it light or a bit on the heavy/"comfort" side? How long will it take to make?"
This time the beautiful bevy of eggplants was my point of inspiration, and I was def leaning in favor of comfort food. Ratatouille more than satisfied our "starving-for-homecooked-meals" bellies (at least mine anyway). Eating out for every single meal over the course of a month was glorious in the beginning…and then it just became painful.
Now the beauty of this recipe is...there's really nothing to it! Although there are many variables to take into consideration when making traditional ratatouille (like cooking each vegetable separately, adding plenty of olive oil, using canned tomatoes and their juices, baking in the oven, etc.), I like to keep things pretty simple. This dish allowed me to incorporate 4 goodies from my CSA box - eggplants, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and basil. Making ratatouille was a great decision, indeed.
I admit - the prep work is a bit hairy...tedious and time-consuming. It's a lot of vegetables to clean and chop. I like to prepare my eggplants first because they need time to soak in salt to remove excess moisture. However, once you've worked on your knife skills (you'll be a pro in no time!), the rest is a breeze! Dump, stir, cover..repeat. Now comes the part where you can adjust the timing in the directions. If you want a silkier, more stew-like consistency, increase the simmering time to your liking. I tend to like mine not too liquid-y.
At the end, I like to make individual wells or nests that after about 3-5 minutes will be filled with perfectly poached eggs. I also think that serving this dish on top of crunchy garlic toast is a must! If you are big on texture like me, you'll agree ;). Also, if you're looking to stretch your dollar, this meal will do just that! Enjoy!
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion cut into ½ inch cubes
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 3 medium eggplants cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 medium red bell pepper cored, seeded, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 medium zucchini cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- 2 cups diced grape tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Fresh eggs
- Goat cheese optional
- Sriracha optional
- Baguette sliced 1 inch thick and toasted
- Add oil to a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot and place over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Add eggplant, zucchini, garlic, 1 teaspoon herbs de provence, salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook to soften vegetables, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and ½ cup basil. Cover pot once again and simmer until tomatoes are softened and flavors are concentrated.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar. Make nests or wells in the ratatouille and crack an egg into each nest. Cover pot and cook eggs to desired doneness, 2-5 minutes. Serve with extra basil and optional - goat cheese and/or sriracha.