A primer to the current traditional food movement, Eat Right: The Complete Guide to Traditional Foods, with 130 Nourishing Recipes and Techniques(Kyle Books, 2017) by Nick Barnard, offers achievable and simple ideas, recipes and advice on how to be fully nourished by traditional foods in a modern world. Today more people want to know where their food comes from and are interested in more traditional methods of cooking, which is at the heart of Barnard’s debate on food production and consumption. The following excerpt is from Chapter 6 “Vegetables and Sides.”
By mid- to late summer, once you’ve had your fill of the wealth of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant spilling over the stalls at farmers’ markets, and from your garden or farm share, it’s time to make lots of ratatouille to enjoy freshly made or to freeze. The summer and early fall glut of fresh vegetables is a boon, but they don’t keep, and so our recent ancestors spent much time preserving this wealth by fermenting, cooking, and sealing in a jar, or if very frontier, by cooking and canning themselves. We have the luxury of freezing to add to these preservation techniques. Cut the vegetables to a similar size, not too small, as you don’t want your ratatouille to be at all mushy.
• 1 large eggplant, purple or freckled, trimmed and chopped medium–coarse
• 5 large, firm, and ripe tomatoes (heirloom ones are a good choice), cored and chopped medium–coarse
• 3 medium zucchini, trimmed and chopped medium–coarse
• 2 red or orange bell peppers, trimmed, seeded, and chopped (more coarsely than the other vegetables)
• 4 garlic cloves, smashed and finely diced
• 2 bay leaves
• Thyme sprigs
• 1/2 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• A small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves coarsely chopped, to serve
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the prepared eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and red or orange bell peppers into a roasting pan or baking dish.
2 Throw in the garlic and herbs, pour over about 1/2 cup of olive oil, and sprinkle with lots of salt and some grindings of black pepper. Jumble it up to coat everything thoroughly with the oil, adding more oil if need be to keep it moist. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, turning over the vegetables from time to time.
3 Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves and serve sprinkled with the freshly chopped parsley.
With a tomato and onion sauce
1 If you like onions in your ratatouille, in addition to the above, peel and dice 2 medium onions medium-coarse. Smash, peel, and finely dice 3 of the 4 garlic cloves. Peel the tomatoes if you wish or just core and chop them coarsely without peeling.
2 Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over low–medium heat and add the onions. Allow them to sweat a little and soften but not color, then add the chopped garlic and continue to cook for a minute, no more. Add the tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
3 Assemble the rest of the vegetables in the baking dish as above, and tuck in the remaining clove of garlic. Pour over the tomato sauce and stir, adding as much olive oil as necessary to moisten everything generously.
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Taken from Eat Right by Nick Barnard, published by Kyle Books, photography by Jenny Zarines.