My original plan was ratatouille, one of my absolute favorite seasonal meals. I picked up eggplant, zucchini, tomato, and set about finding a recipe. The problem is, I'm already quite fond of this one and couldn't find another that excited me in the same way. Luckily, I came across this recipe from Men's Health, which uses all of the above vegetables, then adds some chickpeas and bell peppers. How could that be bad?
It wasn't. The mix of spices offers some depth and the sautéed eggplant added meatiness. Though not required, harrisa is recommended, and I have to agree. About one tablespoon adds just the right amount of character and spice. Regardless, this is a great seasonal dish and remarkably easy to put together.
- 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, stems removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
- Salt and black pepper
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into strips
- 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch thick rounds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
- 8 sprigs cilantro, stems discarded, leaves chopped
- 8 sprigs parsley, stems discarded, leaves chopped
- Harissa, to taste
Pour 4 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large skillet set over high heat. When just starting smoke, add the eggplant cubes. Immediately, reduce heat to medium, and stir well. Cook until eggplant pieces are golden and tender, about 10 minutes. When done, turn off heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until onion is starting to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the paprika, turmeric, and garlic. Stir well, and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Then add the tomato sauce and water. Scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven with a wooden spoon. Add the eggplants, chickpeas, and one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and add the cilantro and parsley. Stir in a little harissa if you'd like. Then serve in bowls with white rice on the side.