As summer comes to an end, it becomes increasingly important to get the most out of it while we still can. And what screams summer more than a local farmers market? In my mind, there is no better way to make use of that farmers market by using all that fresh, beautiful produce to create a layered ratatouille that rivals in taste and presentation that cooked by even the most skilled of french rats. (You know, the movie…)
The Collinsville farmers market runs every Sunday during the summer from 10-1, featuring 14 vendors peddling produce, breads, flowers, maple syrup, and anything else that could make your Sunday morning a little bit more adorable.
Outside of the farmers market, Collinsville offers a great variety of food, music, riverside walks, and antiquing that would make the village a great day trip if you live in the area.
Ratatouille is a flavorful way to get in your vegetables and make use of the fresh summer produce. The difference in flavor between locally grown produce and store bought is indescribable, plus its a great way to support local farmers.
Below, you’ll find my recipe for ratatouille that I’ve perfected through much trial & error, but really its tough to make anything with this many wonderful ingredients taste bad.
The recipe works best with japanese eggplant. Their long and skinny shape makes them easier to layer with the other vegetables, but really the only difference is in the presentation. If you’re just whipping up a quick healthy meal, feel free to chop the veggies any way you’d like and throw them in the skillet – it’ll taste great either way.
Farmer’s Market Ratatouille
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 medium yellow squash
- 2 japanese eggplants
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 plum tomatoes or 2 heirloom tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 6 leaves basil
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- ground pepper to taste
- ground oregano
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 400 F
In a large cast iron skillet, add 2 tbsp. olive oil, sliced onion, and garlic. Cook over medium high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized. Then add the canned diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, to the pan and continue to heat over low heat.
While onions are cooking, chop all of your remaining vegetables into thin medallions. Any larger vegetables, like heirloom tomatoes, can then be sliced into wedges in order to match the other vegetables in size.
Once all vegetables are chopped, remove skillet from heat and evenly distribute the tomatoes and onion layer. Begin placing your vegetabes in rotation starting at the outside of the pan and working your way in, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot skillet. The tighter they are packed, the more flavor the sliced veggies will absorb from each other.
Drizzle fully packed skillet with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then transfer to the oven to cook for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove skillet from the oven, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and return to the over for 15 more minutes until vegetables are light brown and tender.
Once done cooking, let cool for 5 minutes and serve directly from the skillet with a large spoon, or refrigerate to eat later for up to 5 days. Leftovers of this dish are particularly delicious heated up the next day, when the vegetables have really had time to sit in their juices.