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Brick Oven Ratatouille

This is the best eggplant dish we've had yet. It bakes in a single, covered glazed terra cotta baking pan, and uses both dome heat and hearth heat to make a great vegetable dish. You only have to remove the pan a couple of times.

Two medium eggplants
Two bell peppers (at least one red, the second yellow or green)
One can of fresh peeled tomatoes, or 6 fresh tomatoes, cored and peeled
One onion
One large (two medium) gloves of garlic
5-6 TBL olive oil (your dish will only be as good as the olive oil -- read our olive oil pages for ideas)

Makes enough as a vegetable side dish for four. Scale the recipes for parties (it works).

Remove the eggplant core and seeds, and chop into 1/4" cubes; cover liberally with salt and let drain in a colander for about an hour. Rinse well, and press firmly to remove excess moisture. It's a pain, but draining eggplant helps with both flavor and texture. (I enjoy the flavor and texture of the skin, though that is up to individual taste if you want to remove the skin. On other other hand, I don't like core of the eggplant and the seeds, and remove it).
Core and sliver the pepper into 2" matchsticks
Chop the onion
Smash and dice the garlic
Core and peel the tomatoes (or just open the can).

Fire the oven until the carbon burns off (650F+), then push the fire to one site and let the oven rest for a few minutes. Shovel out any excess coals. You want a hot oven, which is capable of browning your vegetables from the dome heat, but not so hot that you burn everything in the first few minutes.

Place the onion, garlic and 3 TBL olive oil in the pan, and bake for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions and garlic are translucent and lightly brown.

Add the eggplant, and cover with 1 TBL olive oil and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until they are medium brown.

Add the peppers, cover with 1 TBL olive oil and bake for 3-5 minutes, or until the tips are brown.

Add the tomatoes, and stir to mix. Cover, and push to the coolest edge of the oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until bubbling and well-mixed. The tomatoes should almost disappear into the sauce.

If your dish is too hot, and burning, or drying out, let it rest at the oven opening, where it will stay warm and let the flavors continue to mix.

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Add 1-2 cored zucchini, chopped into 1/4" cubes