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Side Dishes

Ratatouille Niçoise

With its smooth, glossy skin and meaty texture, eggplant is used in cooking preparations worldwide. A classic example is ratatouille, a vegetable-focused side dish where eggplant is the star. Here, a medley of Provençal vegetables are roasted, separately, to reduce their moisture content and retain their individual flavors and colors. A final simmer at the end brings all the flavors together.

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Test Kitchen Tip

Crumble saffron between your fingertips to more effectively release its flavor.


Preheat oven to 450° with racks in top and bottom thirds.

Toss eggplant with 2 Tbsp. oil, then season with salt and pepper; spread onto a baking sheet in one layer. Toss zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper with 2 Tbsp. oil, season with salt and pepper, then spread onto a second baking sheet in one layer. Roast vegetables until tender, 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice the bell pepper.

Sweat onions, fennel, and garlic, in remaining 4 Tbsp. oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, covered, until onions soften, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and saffron; season with salt. Cover pan and cook until tomatoes break down and release their juices, 10 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf, then stir in roasted vegetables and chopped thyme. Simmer ratatouille 2–3 minutes; season with salt.

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