Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. The secret of a good ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately so each will taste truly of itself.
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 2 cups (about) plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large shallots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 pound very ripe tomatoes (about 3), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread 2 cups of the salt on a small baking sheet. Pierce the potatoes all over with a carving fork or skewer and set the potatoes atop the salt on the baking sheet. Sprinkle a small amount of the salt over the potatoes as well. Bake the potatoes until a paring knife can be inserted into the middle of the potatoes without resistance, about 45 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside for 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the ratatouille: Cut off four sides of the eggplant to remove most of the skin. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss the eggplant pieces with 2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl. Set aside until juices exude from the eggplant, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant pieces to a colander and rinse the eggplant under cold running water; drain well.
- Preheat a large deep sauté pan over medium heat, then drizzle with the oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté 1 minute. Add the eggplant and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the eggplant is tender.
- Add the red wine then the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are soft and broken down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season the ratatouille generously to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat.
- Split the potatoes in half lengthwise and crosswise, and gently squeeze open the potatoes.
- Preheat the broiler. Spoon the ratatouille into the potatoes, then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Place the stuffed potatoes onto a clean baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts and browns slightly.
- Mix the yogurt with the chives in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the yogurt sauce atop the potatoes and serve.