Dinner Tonight: Ratatouille Tacos

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

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When most people look at the ingredients in ratatouille—tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, and bell peppers—they undoubtedly start to picture some sweeping expanse of the south of France. You really can't blame them; indeed, that's the region where this humble and satisfying dish was born. (Plus, you know, the dish is freaking amazing.) But when I see them, my mind wanders elsewhere.

Turns out that every single one of those ingredients except the eggplant came from the New World, which means that before any French cook got his or her hands on the raw ingredients, they were probably served with corn tortillas. And thus was born the idea of ratatouille tacos.

The idea was to sauté the zucchini, eggplant, onion, and bell pepper, and then introduce a simple tomato sauce to the mix. I couldn't help myself, and added a half a chipotle pepper for a little background heat, but it's definitely not overwhelming. The sauce and ingredients cook for a few minutes, so that the liquid reduces and starts to coat the vegetables. To serve, all you need are some warm corn tortillas, some salty cotija cheese, and a squeeze of lime. The result is a fresh a chunky taco filling, which utilizes the best of what is currently in season.