We’re not in California anymore. In New York, you can’t just put a blanket over your tomatoes at night for the couple of nights in January when it might frost and treat them as perennials. We’ve got a 50% chance that our first frost will show up towards the end of September. At best, bundling up our tomatoes will make them last until sometime in October. The time has come for eating green tomatoes.
Over the last few years, my partner and I have gotten into green tomato ratatouille. It’s nice and soupy comfort food. And all the ingredients are seasonal just as the weather starts to cool off enough to think that cooking indoors might be a reasonable activity.
Ingredients: equal parts green tomato, eggplant, onion. Sometimes I toss in summer squash, but it turns out I’m the only person on the face of the planet who can’t grow zucchini, so usually it gets left out. As for spices, I usually go with rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sometimes I throw in oregano or basil.
Process: I cut the tomato and eggplant into cubes somewhere in the 0.5-1inch range. I sliver the onion. I layer them in thin layers into a crock pot and add spices between each layer. I’ve found that if I layer them instead of cutting everything at once and stirring it together, the vegetables retain more structural integrity and the resulting texture is pleasing. When the crock pot is full, I pour some vermouth over the top and let it ook for a few hours.
Serve: I’m big on minimal effort. Although ratatouille doesn’t traditionally contain protein, there’s no way I’m making some second dish. I usually toss in some fake-meatballs at the end and top each bowl with parmesan cheese.