The Ultimate Ratatouille
- 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound smallish Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound zucchini, cut crosswise into 1-inch sections
- 3 anchovy fillets, finely minced
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1 dried chile
- Splash balsamic vinegar
Line a large platter with paper towels. Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the eggplant, season generously with salt and pepper, and let that cook down for 10 to 12 minutes, until the eggplant is nice and soft and wilted. Move the eggplant out of the pan and onto the platter to drain. Next stop, zucchini: cook it the same way in 1/4 cup oil, then add it to the platter with the eggplant.
Add another 1/4 cup olive oil to the pan, then the anchovies, onions, garlic and herbs. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions get nice and caramelized. Add the tomatoes and cook that down for 10 to 12 minutes, until pulpy. Return the eggplant and zucchini to the pan, crack open the chile, and add that, too. Season with salt and pepper and let the ratatouille cook slowly for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is soft, mushy and juicy; you want all the flavors to come together. Stir in the vinegar and let cool to room temperature.
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