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For best results, serve it a day after cooking

india Updated: Sep 19, 2010 00:06 IST
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Like many savoury stews, this Niçoise classic tastes even better the day after you make it — and it's great cold as well as hot. To cut down on oil, I roast the eggplant, instead of frying it in the traditional manner, before combining it with the other vegetables.

What you need…
700 gm eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 to 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 pound mixed capsicum (red, yellow, green), cut into slices about 3/4 inch wide by 1 1/2 inches long
1 1/4 pounds zucchini, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
50 gm tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 4 tablespoons slivered basil

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the cubed eggplant in a large, flameproof casserole. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and salt to taste. Place in the hot oven, and roast uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring from time to time until the eggplant is lightly browned. Remove the casserole from the oven, cover and allow the eggplant to steam.

2. Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the onions and stir until tender, about five minutes. Stir in the capsicum and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in half the garlic, and cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to the casserole with the eggplant. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet, and add the zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until tender but still bright, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic and mix together for a minute until fragrant. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to the casserole. Add the tomatoes to the casserole along with the bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and more salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything together, and place over medium-low heat. When the vegetables begin to sizzle, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes until the mixture is juicy and fragrant and the vegetables are thoroughly tender. Serve warm or cold, preferably the next day. Stir in the basil before serving. Serves six to eight.

Nutritional information per serving (six servings): 153 calories; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 21 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams dietary fiber; 18 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 4 grams protein

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