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Adapted from finecooking.com. From this recipe you may make Provençal Vegetable Tart or White Bean & Ratatouille Gratin.
1 Eggplant cut into 1/2-inch pieces
9 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium Onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 to 2 Sweet Spanish Peppers, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 tsp. chopped fresh Rosemary
2 or 3 Zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/8-inch-thick
2 to 3 Tbls. chopped garlic
2 to 3 cups Tomatoes, in 1-inch pieces
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
few drops hot sauce
2 Tbs. basil chiffonade
2 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh parsley
Toss the eggplant with 1 tsp. kosher salt in a colander and let sit in the sink or over a bowl while you prepare the other vegetables. In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat 1 Tbls. oil over medium heat. Add onion, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and deep golden brown, about 15 min. Place in a clean colander or large strainer that’s set over a bowl to catch the juices. In the same skillet, heat another 3 Tbls. oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet peppers and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften and get browned around the edges, about 5 min. Add rosemary, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are soft and sweet, another 10 to 15 min. Gently fold into the onions in the colander. In the same pan, heat another 1 Tbls. oil over high heat, and as soon as you see the first hint of smoke, add zucchini and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Shake and stir to distribute the zucchini slices evenly in the pan so they all get browned. Cook over high heat until tender and nicely browned on both sides, 5 to 7 min. Add to the colander and gently fold with the onions and peppers. Pour eggplant onto kitchen towels, and pat dry. If at any time, the juices in the skillet look black and burned, rinse the pan with water and wipe it out. If not, leave the cooked-on juices they’ll add flavor to the final dish. Heat 3 Tbls. olive oil in the skillet over high heat, add eggplant, shake and stir to distribute the cubes evenly in the pan so they all get browned. Cook over high heat until lightly browned on several surfaces, about 5 min, and then reduce heat to medium. Cook until the eggplant is very tender–not at all al dente–another 13 to 15 min. Fold into the other vegetables. Heat remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil in the skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add garlic and let sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add tomatoes and all their juices and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cook until the tomatoes collapse slightly and the juices thicken and darken a bit, 3 to 5 min. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze all the cookedon vegetable juices. Add to the colander, scraping out all the juice from the skillet, and fold everything together. Allow vegetables to sit in the colander for 15 to 20 min, rending around 1/2 cup liquid in the bowl. Pour this into a small saucepan, heat until gently boiling, and boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and a few drops of the hot sauce to taste. Fold this glaze into the vegetables, along with basil, and parsley. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and hot sauce. Serve hot with mashed potatoes, or, let the ratatouille cool and serve at room temperature.