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Day Six of National Vegetarian Week sees us preparing this classic Sicilian dish which is often used as an accompaniment to grilled fish but is also excellent main fare.
Cut two medium eggplants into one-inch (only 36 years after metric measured were introduced!) cubes, place them in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Rinse after twenty minutes and pat dry.
In the meantime, slice two zucchinis into half-inch rounds; thinly slice two red deseeded capsicums and an onion.
Puree two large ripe cored and diced tomatoes with a half-cup of red wine vinegar and two teaspoons of sugar. (At this time of year, just use canned diced tomatoes).
Place eggplant in the base of a roasting pan, add the chopped vegetables and a bay leaf and pour over the tomato puree. Throw in a shower of pine nuts - toasted if you wish - and drizzle two tablespoonsful of good olive oil over the pan before covering it with foil. Bake it for 30 minutes covered in a hot oven; then remove foil and bake uncovered a further 30 minutes.
Optionally, add fetta-stuffed green olives. OK, fetta isn't Sicilian. Big deal.
Accompany with pasta dura bread, the kind they used to sell in the smaller inner-suburban supermarkets, dusted in flour and with a sheet fine opaque paper wrapped around the middle. (Do these still exist? The supermarkets as well as the bread, I suppose.)
And red wine was invented for this kind of eating.
This Sicilian version of rataouille is for my friend Tim who some time ago asked for such a recipe.