It’s the peak of the summer harvest right now, which means it’s time to make pistou. What’s pistou? It’s the Spanish version of ratatouille, and is easier for me to spell. (Aren’t you glad you asked?) Anyways, whatever you call it, it is a classic Mediterranean summer dish filled with fresh veggies that is already vegetarian, so no modifications were needed.
It does call for a bit more of oil than I usually use, and while I’ve tried to cut it back, the eggplant becomes unhappy. And while I also try and cut back on longer prep steps, peeling and salting the eggplant is pretty necessary: otherwise, it can be bitter. By itself, it makes a nice but light dinner. The traditional Spanish way of serving this dish is to poach eggs in it just before serving. When I’m short on eggs, like this week, I add some plain Greek yogurt for protein or have a side of bread and cheese. My sister who first introduced me to ratatouille serves it over orzo and topped with parmesan or goat cheese. However you do it, it’s yummy and packed full of veggies.
- 1 large or 2 medium eggplant, peeleed and diced
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 6 medium tomatoes, diced, or 2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
- salt to taste
- 4 eggs (optional)
- Put eggplant in a colander in the sink or over a bowl, salt generously and set aside for half an hour. When ready, throughly rinse the eggplant and shake off most of the excess water.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant and soft, about 1 to 2 minutes, then sprinkle with salt.
- Add the eggplant and cook until most of the oil is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and bell pepper, stir until coated and evenly mixed.
- Add the tomatoes, juice and and all, stir into the pot and bring to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes, and adjust salt to taste.
- If desired, crack one egg at a time into a mug, then gently pour into the pistou, taking care to not break the yolks.
- Poach until whites are set and yolks are at their desired hardness.
- Serve with 1 egg per bowl.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.