Grit Grit Gooey

This recipe is dedicated to my friend James Canard who consistently has the best vegetable garden I’ve ever seen in the USA.  Mark and Mona Couchman get an honorable mention for their garlic crop this year.
Harvest season in Sonoma wine country is when my friends’ gardens yield ingredients that make the best ratatouille (pronounced rat, tat, too, eey) on earth.   Around here, we don’t just do grapes, this is tomato, pepper, eggplant, carrot, garlic and basil season and I’m all over it.
When I was a kid, my mom made ratatouille and I learned not to use the word “hate” at the dinner table (or anywhere else as far as my parents were concerned).  Instead, my brother and I coined the term “grit, grit gooey” to capture our feelings about the seasonal dish.
Fortunately, my kids don’t read my blog and the fruit has fallen far from the tree. 
They love this dish.  Remarkable but true.  Even the kids’ friends eat it.
This is the simplest recipe I’ve written so far this year.  It takes time, though, to do it right.
HERE IS THE KEY: Each batch must be cooked separately. IF YOU DO IT ALL AT ONCE, IT DOESN’T TASTE THE SAME. 
Sweat the eggplant first (slice and sprinkle with salt)
In a non-cast iron large pan:
Heat olive oil and add sliced, prepared veggies.
Cut (lengthwise) zucchini.  Cook or even lightly brown till tender, adding salt and garlic at the last 60 seconds. Set aside, clear the pan of cooked garlic and start the next batch.
Do the same process with the peppers (sliced lengthwise), and yellow crooknecks, tomatoes and eggplant.  You can make equal proportions of each.
Do the tomatoes last then put everything back in the pan.  Once re-assembled, cook only until reheated.  Serve with couscous, quinoa, rice or a combo of the three.


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