Above: Tipsy holding the aubergine just picked from my mom's garden.
I did not always like ratatouille.
Then one night in New Haven, Lucy, a pretty fellow waitress at the restaurant where I worked at night, invited some of us over for dinner to the apartment she shared with her doomed boyfriend, the alcoholic and bi-polar barman. Ratatouille and chicken breasts were on the menu. The unctuous former saved the latter from the dessication for which it was destined. I was converted.
8 garlic cloves, peeled
5 shallots or small onions, halved
1 big aubergine, cubed
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 sweet red pepper, in chunks
6 small courgettes, in thumb-sized lengths
lots of thyme
lots of parsley
Salt, pepper, some sugar
In a generous sloshing of olive oil over medium heat saute the cloves of garlic and the shallots, add aubergine, stirring until coloured lightly; add the pepper, the tomatoes, the courgettes. Add the herbs, salt, pepper and a little sugar. Stir again and cover with a lid. Cook for about an hour and a half. Remove lid and finish in a hot oven for half an hour to allow it to caramelize slightly.
Serve with dry chicken breasts.
Also very good, cold or hot, on bread. For wildness, add a poached egg.