You might remember the other day when I was all I’m-so-over-winter-I-hate-the-cold-and-snow-and-I-just-want-to-bury-my-boots-in-the-closet-and-wear-cute-shoes-again. Wah, wah, wah. Ok, so maybe I actually said most of that in my head, but I know we’re all thinking it.
Good news, you’re not going to get any more complaining from me. Somewhere between Wednesday (or maybe it was Tuesday) and this morning, I went for a run outdoors in temps above freezing, got a nice dose a sunshine and an attitude adjustment. I also made chocolate cookies….which clearly has nothing to do with my better attitude.
Give me a day with temps above 40, and it might as well be spring…and to my Pinterest-self it’s practically summer (bring on summer dresses and sandals!). Alas, it is still February. I figure finding common ground might be best, and even better to do so in the most delicious way possible….Ratatouille with Baked Eggs.
I’m pretty sure you don’t see the connection. It’s ok. Stick with me for a minute or two, you’ll see what’s happening.
Gosh, just thinking about Ratatouille makes me smile. This flavorful and versatile veggie dish has long been my favorite summer comfort food. It may even be my ultimate comfort food. I just love how the rich flavor of the tomatoes, basil and eggplant blend together, and how they practically melt in my mouth. Ratatouille with Baked Eggs is the perfect answer for this time of year when we crave rich comfort foods to warm our belly, yet yearn for a hint of spring at summer at the same time.
Do you see the connection now?
Ratatouille with Baked Eggs is light, yet hearty. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but once you taste it you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. This healthy, veggie filled meal is perfect for breakfast or brunch, or even a light dinner, anytime of year. Serve it with a few slices of crusty bread or toasted baguette, or perhaps bulk it up with a side of polenta.
Because the Ratatouille does take a bit of time to cook I recommend making it the day (or even two days) before you plan to serve.
Place the diced eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and allow the eggplant to drain for about 20 minutes. Once the eggplant has drained, pat dry.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven, or heavy bottomed-pot. Add the eggplant, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the pan. If you find that the eggplant is sticking a lot, you can add a touch more oil. Cook until the eggplant is golden brown. Transfer the eggplant to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, basil and red pepper flakes, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the squash and zucchini. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the peppers. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the diced tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the eggplant and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You can remove the basil leaves if you like, but I prefer to keep them in the ratatouille.
* If you don't plan to serve the ratatouille immediately, let it cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator until you plan to serve.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Fill small oven-safe baking dishes or ramekins about 3/4 full with ratatouille. Place the dishes on a baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon to make a small well in the ratatouille on each side of baking dish, or if using a ramekin, make one small well in the center. Crack an egg into each of the wells. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Bake until the egg whites are set, about 20-23 minutes.
Serve immediately with slices of toasted baguette.