eggplant relish

Ratatouille Relish

My Grandma Mary is an amazing cook and gardener. Ever since I can remember she and my Grandpa Larry have had a large garden that they eat almost completely out of. They’re 84, work in the garden daily, and are in great health.

One of my first memories is that of me sitting in a stroller next to the rows of cherry tomato plants on their plot in the community garden in Alhambra, California, eating all of the tomatoes, ripe or not. I made a mess of myself, not too much different than today.

Last week I was the lucky recipient of the overflow of Japanese eggplants that their garden produced. Naturally, my thoughts went to something that Grandma used to make all the time: ratatouille relish. Spread on a Pepperidge Farm butterfly cracker, this was mine and my sisters’ favorite thing to eat growing up. Grandma made it by accident one day when she let the ratatouille she was making cook for a little too long. No waste around these parts! With the addition of a little honey and rice wine vinegar, Grandma saved the day and made a delicious spread, or what these days I like to use as the perfect accompaniment to goat cheese!

When I asked my Grandma about a recipe, she laughed a little and said she could probably come up with one if she had to. The following recipe is my own adaptation of …

Grandma’s [almost] famous ratatouille relish.

Makes 3 pints, Give some away, your friends will love you!

  • 1 1/2# Japanese eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 3 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 crookneck yellow squash, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp basil, chiffonade
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste

In a large heavy bottomed pot,over medium flame, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Add onions and red pepper and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook until aromatic. Add eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until moisture is gone and mixture is spreadable, about 30-40 minutes. The mixture will darken as it cooks. Remove from heat and add honey, vinegar and herbs. Allow to cool to room temp before covering and refrigerating. This will keep for up to a week.

45 Responses to “Ratatouille Relish”

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