Perfect for this time of year, there is a “free-form” recipe for ratatouille in one of MFK Fisher’s books: it’s secret is long, slow cooking so that this French Provencal stewed vegetable dish gradually becomes more solid and reaches the right texture. No added liquid. Herbs optional.
If your kitchen counter is overflowing with zucchini, yellow squash, a few small eggplants, a red pepper, tomatoes, onions, and garlic, then everything can be sliced, chopped, or cubed and placed in a large stockpot. Generously add olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the lid on and let it cook in a 300 degree oven for about 5 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally, or not. When it reaches the right texture and consistency, remove from the oven and let stand for about 20 minutes. Serve over slices of toasted French bread with plenty of grated cheese, and topped with sausage or with wild, cooked shrimp. Note: since sizes vary, we really can’t give you exact quantities but three parts eggplant to two parts tomatoes and one part each of peppers, onions and garlic is what’s suggested and worked beautifully for us.