Yesterday proved quite the yellow harvest day. In from the yard: 8 pounds (yes, pounds!) of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes; 10 yellow patty pan squash (three imposingly overgrown); 20 lemon cucumbers. We picked other colors, too: red tomatoes, fuchsia beets, burgundy carrots, green filet beans and purple-hued blueberries.
But I only had eyes for yellow, and visions of Patty Pan Ratatouille danced on my taste buds. Confession: my ratatouille doesn’t have eggplant. I don’t like eggplant*, even when it’s called aubergine, as it is in France and Ireland, where years ago I ate some moussaka that was so awful it turned me off eggplant-aubergine forever (I know. Ireland. Serves me right.) But I’ve always had a thing for vegetables stewed together, and Patty Pan Ratatouille is my favorite. Does lack of eggplant disqualify me from calling my ratatouille a ratatouille? Don’t know, don’t care. Patty Pan Ratatouille speaks, er, tastes, for itself.
Patty Pan Ratatouille
You don’t have to use patty pan squash in this recipe; zucchini 4-5” long work just fine, sliced lengthwise (if you use larger zucchini, cut the zucchini in half before slicing lengthwise). And you can substitute red cherry or grape tomatoes for the yellow ones with no taste penalties.
4-5 small patty pan squash, sliced 1/8” thick (easiest to achieve with a mandolin)
2 leeks, sliced thinly, white and light-green parts only
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
¼ cup (or more) olive oil
A light handful of flour
Sea salt to taste
Coarse ground pepper to taste
- Place the sliced patty pan squash in a colander. Sprinkle lightly with salt. You can leave the squash for a few hours or assemble the dish right away—it’s up to you.
- When ready, place the patty pan squash in a large bowl. Add the leeks, celery, tomatoes, parsley, flour and olive oil; toss the ingredients together. Don’t be stingy with the olive oil; add enough so that all the patty pan slices are lightly coated. Add sea salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste.
- Fill a 9 x 12 ceramic cooking dish (mine’s Emile Henry) with the mixture and place in a 425º degree oven. After about 20 minutes, open the oven and using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients again to ensure even baking.
- Bake at least another 20 minutes until the ingredients are tender and stewed together. Or do what I do, and bake another 40 minutes to deepen flavors.
- Serve as a side dish; it goes particularly well with fish. Or stuff it between a baguette, add a layer of fresh chèvre and chow down. Bliss. The next day, this ratatouille tastes great cold, mixed with brown rice or quinoa and topped with a dollop of plain yogurt.
*I still eat my grandma’s eggplant relish.