recipe + photography by LAURA CABOT, Laura Cabot Catering

When your August garden is at its most abundant, think no further than this peasant stew featuring all the veggies that the later part of summer has to offer ... eggplant, summer squashes, tomato and sweet peppers.

Who needs to hop a plane to the south of France?

Serves 6 as a main dish

2 medium eggplant
1 large sweet white onion
3 colored peppers, mix them up
3 small summer squash
3 small zucchini
6 plum tomatoes
1 head of garlic, peeled
¾ cup olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 cup dry white wine
1 quart crushed tomato sauce
Seasonings to taste with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and fresh basil

Dice all veggies uniformly. Keep separate.

Choose a large, heavy bottom kettle. Place on a medium high heat. Add half the oil and, when hot, sauté the onion and eggplant until they’re about half sautéed, then set them aside in a bowl.

Add the remaining oil to the pot. Do the same to the remaining vegetables, add the eggplant back, then the chopped tomato and garlic, seasoning to taste and give it a good stir.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the wine and tomato sauce. Check again for seasoning and cook until the vegetables are just tender.

Let it cool, remove bay leaves and stir in basil chiffonade last.

I like this served either hot or cold. Complete the meal with crusty bread, a big salad and a good finishing oil!

At Laura Cabot Catering, this is a go-to summer dish suitable for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free eaters, or really anyone wants to go “plant forward” in their diet.

Also great with some sliced, cooked country sausage.

Enjoy this al fresco with a chilled rosé wine and good friends.

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