Ratatouille dates

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Not mine however…ha ha ha. Don’t judge this photo by its looks. Nothing sexy about Ratatouille. Nutin! Buuuuut I have long loved Ratatouille and this is by far the best I have ever made. The recipe was brought to me by a coworker from the cookbook “flavors of Morocco” (no the “f” is not capitalized on the book? – admitted Grammar nazi here at least when it comes to spelling. There is SO much error in journalism today it’s making me crazy. Enough said). Now watch me regret THAT comment. ;-)

The secret ingredient is dates. Wow, didn’t see that coming. But the magic little fruit makes such a subtle and sweet difference it is hard for me to imagine making this dish in the future any other way. It’s also very simple. I have one suggestion to myself and my readers. This recipe doesn’t have you sweat the eggplant. My coworker made this dish and he also didn’t sweat them, but when I made it I did. For quite some time I might add. Normally it’s a 5-10 minute sweat process. But my eggplant was happily having it’s very own menopause moment that I kept letting it sweat. THINKING……that the eggplant would be much more silky in the dish. This however did not pan out. I love babaganoush….big time so I was trying to achieve a softer effect since you keep the skin on. Don’t get me wrong it’s the BEST ratatouille! I didn’t want to cook every single vitamin out of the dish so I could have cooked it til the cows came to soften the eggplant more but I didn’t. Whew, that was a mouth full.

So, for the future I will continue to sweat but may try baking it solo ever so slightly before adding it to the dish. Again, it’s the BEST ratatouille I’ve made. Thank you dates. My new love (and yes I have forgiven you for almost killing my Cuisinart whilst making granola bars!).

Don’t miss this dish.

Here’s all you do:

Moroccan Ratatouille:

  • 4-5 Tbl of olive oil
  • 1 onion halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise, with stalk and seeds removed
  • 1 medium eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 8 oz. pitted dates, halved lengthwise
  • 2 – 14oz cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sugar (I left this out and added more dates)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Ras-el-hanout (ethnic grocery stores carry)
  • small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley coarsely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a tangine or a heavy based casserole. Stir in the onion and garlic and simmer for 2-3 minutest until they begin to soften.  Add the pepper, eggplant and zucchini and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.  Add the dates, tomatoes, sugar and Ras-el-hanout (smells like cinnamon) and mix thoroughly.  Cover pot and cook for about 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Soul satisfying for sure.

Bon Appétit!