A great side dish for a picnic of six
2½ cups unpeeled eggplant cut in ½” dice (about a 7-ounce eggplant)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow squash cut in ½” dice (about ¼ lb yellow squash)
1 cup zucchini cut in ½” dice (about ¼ lb zucchini)
½ cup red bell pepper cut ½” dice (one pepper, about 2 ounces)
½ cup green bell pepper cut in ½” dice (one pepper, about 2 ounces)
2 cups thinly sliced onion (about 1 large onion)
10 large cloves garlic, finely minced
28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes
approximately ⅓ cup good extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons great extra virgin olive oil for finishing dish
½ cup firmly packed torn basil leaves, plus 2 tablespoons basil chiffonade (very thinly sliced) for garnish
1. Place the diced eggplant in a colander over a bowl. Toss with the teaspoon of salt, cover with wax paper or paper towels, and weigh down slightly (with heavy cans, for example.) Let sit for 30 minutes. Pat dry. (If you prefer less salt, rinse and pat dry.)
2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the good olive oil. (You will need to add more during cooking to prevent sticking). When the skillet is hot, cook the yellow squash and zucchini together until tender and lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking; season with salt and pepper to taste while cooking to extract the most flavor. Set squashes aside.
3. In the same skillet, add more oil and proceed in the same manner with the two peppers, cooking for 7-9 minutes, until tender and lightly browned, but still holding some texture. Set aside.
4. Add more oil to the pan and cook the eggplant for 6-8 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Set aside.
5. Add more oil to the pan, and cook the onions for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes from the can, squeezing them into the skillet as you put them in. (Save the remaining tomato juice/puree from the can for another use.) Raise the heat to high and cook until the juices have thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Add the reserved squash, peppers and eggplant to the pan. Lower the heat and cook for 3 minutes. Add the torn basil, cook for 1 minute, and turn off heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. To serve, toss with the 2 tablespoons great extra virgin olive oil (or more to taste) and garnish with the basil chiffonade. Serve at room temperature.
This fruity, delicious red is produced by the creator of the Le Pain Quotidien restaurants at his house/winery in Languedoc; it is made from 100% Mourvèdre, one of my favorite Mediterranean grapes. Medium purple garnet. Lovely nose of cooked red fruits, with a grape jam predominance. Fairly sweet attack (perfect for the sweetness of the vegetables!), which turns dry by mid-palate. Always on the verge of becoming a big, ripe mouthful..but always saved at the bell by elegance and good acidity.
Check out the article this recipe came from!