This is one of my favourite recipes. As an appetizer, main dish, side dish, it is always enjoyable.
3 tablespoons of olive oil. I have used the “warm and pure” Marino Novello Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Onion, cut into slivers, 4 Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced, 1 Small bay leaf, 1 Small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 1 Small zucchini, cut into thin round slices, 1 Red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch small squares, 1 Green bell pepper, cut into ½ inch small squares, 5Plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, 1 Teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 Cup shredded fresh basil leaves, Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste, 1 Star anise.
1. Over medium-low heat, add the olive oil to a large skillet with the onion, garlic, and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. If you are making a larger amount, use a cooking pot instead, it will help when you need to stir all ingredients.
2. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally until the eggplant has softened. Add the zucchini, red and green bell pepper, tomatoes, star anise and salt. Cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes stirring occasionally. You will know its is ready when you taste the vegetables are they are tender. Last, add the basil and few grinds of pepper to taste.
Tip: I prefer to salt eggplants before using them because it helps tame the bitter taste. If you decide to do so, 30 minutes in advance to incorporating them into the recipe lay cut pieces over paper towels and sprinkle with salt. After letting sit for 20 minutes, rinse, pat dry and add the recipe preparation.
Photo: Janie Garcia Photography.