Eggplants are related to the nightshade family (along with potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet peppers, so those who are sensitive to nightshades should avoid them) and are actually fruits because their seeds are on the inside. They have many wonderful health benefits including a fair amount of fiber (if eaten with the skin), lots of potassium and vitamin B1, also known as thiamin.
To be honest, in our house making ratatouille is an inexact science. The base ingredients are:
eggplant, onion, tomatoes, sweet peppers, garlic, olive oil, pitted olives, basil, salt, pepper, and parsley
How much of which ingredient depends on what we have available. I know that's not really helpful so here are the proportions I used today.
1 medium size eggplant diced
1 medium onion diced
2 zucchini cut into 1/2" rounds
2 peppers (one red one green) chopped medium
2 large tomatoes diced
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried parsley
salt and pepper
Layer it all in the crockpot
pour a 14.5 ounce can of diced organic tomatoes over the batch
let it cook on low for 7-9 hours until it is done
I plan to serve this ladled over freshly made polenta with a generous shaving of fresh parmesan on top for a delicious, filling meal.
1 C. fresh ground cornmeal
1 t. salt
3 C. water
bring water and salt to a boil
reduce water to a simmer
very slowly add cornmeal (this is important to avoid lumps)
cook approximately 20 minutes until mixture thickens
remove from heat and pour into a pie plate (for triangles) or a cake pan (for squares)
let polenta set for 10-15 minutes
cut and serve
Enjoy and be well.
crockpot photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/user:mecu