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Mediterranean Summer Vegetables

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Updated August 03, 2012

Nothing says "late summer" to me like cooking up a mix of farm-fresh eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and squash, and seasoning it in a Mediterranean way. It's like the summer sun has been captured on my plate. This is similar to ratatouille, but has a slightly different texture and flavors. It is great cold as a salad the next day, or reheat for an omelet filling.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about ¼ lb)
  • 1 lb eggplant, any variety, chopped into cubes
  • 1 large green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ lb. zucchini, chopped or sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed, grated, or minced
  • 3/4 lb tomatoes, fresh or canned and drained
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dry white wine, or can substitute vegetable or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 or 2 drops hot sauce, if desired
  • ½ cup fresh chopped basil, or 1 T dried (but please get fresh if you can, it's a lot better)

Preparation:

In this vegetable sauté, depending on the heat of the pan and the juiciness of the vegetables, they may begin to stick. If this happens, add a splash of the wine or broth to loosen it up.

1. Heat oil in pan with onion. When onion is well-sizzling, add eggplant and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle salt over all. Then add peppers, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, add zucchini, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Push the vegetables out to the edges of the pan and cook the garlic in the center (you may need to add a bit more oil) for 30 to 60 seconds until fragrant.

3. Dump the tomatoes in and stir to release juice (again, this keeps everything from sticking). Add the rest of the wine or broth and dried basil if you're using it. Cook until tomatoes are fairly well broken-down. The eggplant should be pretty mushy.

4. Add black pepper and hot sauce, if you're using it. (Only a drop of hot sauce; you just want it to "perk up" the flavors, not be spicy.)

5. Taste and adjust seasonings. If tomato and wine are making it a bit acidic, or the flavors don't seem to be blending nicely, add a very small amount of sweetener -- no more than 1 teaspoon worth. You'll be amazed how this can change the whole dish.

6. Mix in the fresh basil, and take off heat.

How long you cook it after this point are really up to you. Sometimes I cook it down to concentrate the flavors and make it a lot less chunky. If you stop at this point, though, you should have about 4 cups of vegetables, making 8 servings.

Nutritional Information: Each serving has 5 grams effective carbohydrate plus 3.5 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, and 97 calories.

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