This is the classic mix of eggplant, zucchini, red peppers and tomatoes, but the fresh herbs stirred in at the end of the cooking process set this version apart. Good served hot or at room temperature, drizzled with a touch of olive oil.
- 1 medium eggplant (about 12 oz), cut into 3/4-in cubes
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-in pieces
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
- 2 medium red bell peppers (6 oz each), cored, seeded, and cut into 3/4-in pieces
- 2 small zucchini (about 12 oz), cut into 3/4-in pieces
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomato
- 1 large sprig of thyme
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded basil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Sprinkle the eggplant cubes with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and place the eggplant in a colander set over a bowl. Cover the eggplant with a paper towel and place a plate over the towel. Weigh the plate down with a heavy can to press down on the eggplant. Let the eggplant drain for about 30 minutes to extract any bitter juice.
After the eggplant has drained, rinse it and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook the onion for about 3 minutes, until translucent and beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic and onion are lightly browned. Remove the garlic and onion with a slotted spoon and place them in a medium Dutch oven or casserole.
Add 1 more tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet. Stir in the peppers and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook for about 7 minutes, until the peppers are just beginning to brown.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peppers from the skillet to the Dutch oven or casserole. Add the zucchini and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove the zucchini from the skillet with the slotted spoon and add it to the Dutch oven or casserole.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet and cook the eggplant, stirring occasionally. When lightly browned, add it to the Dutch oven or casserole.
Add the tomatoes to the skillet. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.
Add the tomatoes to the Dutch oven or casserole, along with the thyme and black pepper. Bring the vegetables to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 15 minutes. When done, the vegetables should be soft and the sauce thick. Stir in the basil and parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Recipe courtesy of Dr. Mark Hyman.