These days, ratatouille might be most famous in this country as the dish that turned a cartoon rat into a famous chef. But the Southern French vegetable stew is a classic. It's a fantastic way to use summer’s bountiful harvest —including tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Making it in a slow cooker is genius because it means you don’t have to heat up your kitchen in the height of the summer swelter. Of course, you can make this scrumptious stew any time of year so long as you can get good quality produce and/or canned tomatoes.
Ratatouille is versatile, too! Serve it hot as a side dish for roasted or grilled meat or poultry, or as a base for fish. Top it with a poached or fried egg, and serve it with toasted baguette slices for dipping. You could also toss it with cooked pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Ratatouille will keep in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to three months.