Cook on a Whim: Ratatouille With Poached Eggs

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Ratatouille with poached eggs. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.

Recently, I shared this easy ratatouille on my social channels and the response was pretty amazing. You all really want this recipe!

It’s a mostly traditional ratatouille — and so easy I almost feel a little guilty calling it a recipe. It’s a chop-and-drop kind of deal. Everything stews for a bit, you crack some eggs on top et voila! Ratatouille is done.

Serve with some good crusty bread, lots of fresh herbs, a sprinkle of creamy, sharp cheese just to gild the lily a bit. And, of course, we can’t forget the wine.

To me, ratatouille is the ultimate summertime dish, made up of garden veggies that are all ripening at the same time: tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, bell peppers. Also, ratatouille is an easy, one-pot dish that does not require the oven — always a bonus during these sweltering months.

You’ll see some recipes that have you thinly slice all the veggies and arrange them in a baking dish. Not so in this easy ratatouille recipe. I keep mine the way I imagine it began: humble, rustic and traditional.

I have to admit, my earliest memories of this dish were not very pleasant ones. I was not a fan of the stewed veggies as a young child. But, as I grew older and wiser, I learned to love this dish as I do today. My dad made it regularly during the summer harvest months, since we had a large garden and lots of veggies to use up. I have no doubt that’s how this dish originally came to be — and I love that. I love recipes that are created out of necessity and seasonal abundance.

What do you need to make this easy, traditional (mostly) ratatouille?

  • Tomatoes
  • Summer squash — either green zucchini, yellow squash or a combination
  • Eggplant
  • Bell peppers
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Herbs (basil is my first choice here, but thyme, parsley, dill, tarragon … whatever you have and love — a mix is nice)

And a few of my secret flavor weapons:

  • Bay leaves
  • Anchovies
  • Balsamic vinegar

I hope you’ll give this ratatouille recipe a try! I know I’ll be making it again soon, as I have zucchini and tomatoes ripening in my garden. If you make it, share a photo with me. I always love seeing when you make my recipes.

Happy cooking! xo — Anita

 

Ratatouille With Poached Eggs

Ingredients

2 pounds (about 6 medium) fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 large bell pepper, diced

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium eggplant, peeled and large-diced

6 garlic cloves, chopped

4 zucchini or summer squash, large-diced

2 anchovy filets

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and black pepper

Mixture of fresh herbs for serving

Crumbled feta (French feta, if you can find it!) or other sharp, tangy cheese for serving

Instructions

Heat oil in a large pan (mine has a 4-quart capacity) over medium heat. Make sure you choose a pan that has a lid. Add onions and garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often. Next, add anchovy filets and stir until they dissolve. Then add summer squash, bell pepper, eggplant and a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Next, add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir well, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes partially covered until everything becomes soft.

Use your spoon to make small indentations in the mixture, and carefully crack an egg into each one. You can make as many as you need and/or as many as will fit in your pan. Once all the eggs are cracked, cover the pan and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until eggs are set.

Taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper if needed, sprinkle cheese and serve with crusty bread and lots of fresh herbs.

Note

This is a rustic dish. Don’t get too finicky about your dicing or measuring. Also, play around with the proportions. If you don’t love eggplant, leave it out and add an extra zucchini. This is a very laid-back dish.

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