Cleaning out the vegetable garden
With summer clearly behind us and the shorter days smelling more of fall, it’s time to clean out our vegetable gardens. At the end of every season, tomatoes still cling to the vine, desperately trying to ripen before the first frost. Under the thick canopy of squash vines, I always find a few extra zucchini. There are inevitably a couple bell peppers and even an eggplant left to enjoy; reminders of summer’s bounty.
Luckily, there are several perfect dishes that help you enjoy these final tastes from the garden. We often turn to capontata or ratatouille for just that! What is the difference, you may ask? According to Chowhound:
Ratatouille is a popular dish from the French region of Provence that combines eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic, and herbs — all simmered in olive oil. They can be cooked together or cooked separately and then combined and heated briefly together. Ratatouille can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature, as a side dish or appetizer with bread or crackers.
Caponata is a Sicilian dish that’s generally served as a salad, side dish, or relish. It’s composed of eggplant, onions, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, pine nuts, capers, and vinegar, all cooked together in olive oil. Oftentimes caponata contains something sweet like raisins or a touch of sugar. It’s most often served at room temperature.
The briny olives, pungent anchovies, tangy vinegar, and salty capers really differentiate the taste of caponata from ratatouille, despite their similar vegetables — eggplant, tomatoes, onions — and cooking method — mixed together in olive oil. Either dish would be great on pizza, in pasta, or on top of toasted French or Italian bread slices for bruschetta.
Below please find Beth’s recipe for Caponata, which we often serve on delicious ricotta toasts (and just to confuse you, we often call it Ratatouille Bruschetta). Either way, delicious!