While I was walking around the grocery store the other day, I noticed that eggplants were on sale so I grabbed two of them. I was anticipating an eggplant parmesan and ratatouille. I picked out the firmest, shiniest, most perfect two out of the crop and was quite proud of my accomplishment. I was so excited to get home and attempt to cook this wonderful french dish that's provided by Julia Child in her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I have been so inspired by Julia Child since I watched the movie "Julie and Julia." I hope to one day find some old original first or second edition cookbooks she wrote before they were 'updated' with new modern conveinences. My favorite cookbook is one from the 1950s. I think they're classic, elegant and filled with a lifetime or two of knowledge. Back to my story! I came home and started to cut up the red and green peppers, the onion, the tomato, and finally the eggplant. I sliced into it and see a brown rotten swirl throughout the flesh/ I show the husband and he says it's normal rotting just use the normal white pieces. I was not going to use it, but I had to know what caused this in my perfect eggplant. After the knife sliced a few more pieces, I found the problem; a CATERPILLER! The brown swirls happened to be where it had reproduced its eggs.(WOW!) It makes me ill to think about it even now. I immediately washed everything I touched, the cutting board, the knife, the bowls, the counter top and I took a deep breath. I was semi freaked out about my perfect eggplant being infested when clearly there wasn't any signs of entry ANYWHERE on it. Thankfully the husband suggested the other eggplant and I sliced it open while I held my breath. It was the perfect eggplant I had selected and did not disappoint me like it's brother did. However, the eggplants parmesan will have to wait until I go back to the store.
So I happily cut the eggplant and squash, added salt and waited 30 minutes. Once that was done, you drain the juice and towel dry each piece. I must confess that I skipped that step and threw them into the hot skillet. Once they were cooked (about 10 minutes on slow heat) you place them in a different bowl and add in peppers, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to the hot oil. Once they're cooked, add in the tomatoes and let cook for ten minutes covered. Then baste with tomato juices and simmer to reduce the amount of juice left in pan. Add 1/3 tomato mixture into a casserole dish over low heat. Then sprinkle 1/3 teaspoon parsley on top. Add 1/3 eggplant/squash mixture and continue to layer until done. Cook on low heat for ten minutes while basting with own juices. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve warm or cold.
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
- 1 cup diced green bell peppers
- 1 cup diced red bell peppers
- 1 cup diced zucchini squash
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper