What do you do with Zucchini?
We’ve been having a lot of fun with the Wilson’s CSA. This week we got a bunch of zucchini and summer squash along with an eggplant. Well obviously the first thing that comes to mind is ratatouille – no not the Disney-Pixar movie, the classic French casserole. And this seemed like just the sort of think Julia Child would have done in the early days of her TV show. So a little bit of googling turned up the recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and this very amusing lady channeling her inner Julia to make her version of ratatouille.
Here’s my variation:
Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille
2 summer squash
6 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeded (or 28 oz canned)
1 onion, sliced
1 pepper (red or green). diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
3-4Tbps fresh basil
Slice the squash and zucchini into quarters lengthwise, then cut the quarters into lengths 2-3 inches long. Something that won’t fall though the grate on your grill. Peel the eggplant, cut it in half lengthwise, then cut into slices. Salt all the veggies and put them in a strainer over a bowl for about 30 minutes or so to drain off some moisture. Then rinse the salt off and dry the pieces. Toss them with some olive oil and a bit of pepper. Grill the veggies over medium heat until tender on your barbeque or grill. In classic ratatouille, the veggies aren’t supposed to brown at all, but I like them that way when I grill them. Set the grilled veggies aside in a dish.
Heat a couple of table spoons of olive oil in a frying pan, and add the onions and peppers to start sautéing. When they start to soften add the minced garlic. While that is cooking prepare the tomatoes. I think this really was better with fresh tomatoes, but if you could probably use canned in a pinch. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove the seeds, then cut each quarter into about 3 slices. Lay the tomato slices on top of the onions and peppers. Add some salt and pepper, then cover and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes so they start to render up some juice. Then uncover and cook for about 10 more minutes stirring occasionally until most of the moisture is gone.
Now assemble the casserole. First put about a third of the tomato, onion mixture in the bottom of a casserole pan with a cover. Top that with half of the zucchini/eggplant mixture – drain off any liquid that may have come out of the veggies. Sprinkle half the chopped basil over the top. Layer more tomatoes, veggies, chopped basil, and then end with a layer of tomatoes.
Set the pan on the stove (covered), and simmer everything on low for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer about another 10 minutes to reduce the liquid, but try not to burn the bottom. Alternatively you could put the whole thing in a 350 degree oven for probably about 45 minutes with the cover on.
Here’s Julia doing another version of Ratatouille, there seem to be many variations on what to do with eggplants.