I used it when I made chichoumeille – the Languedocian version of the better-known Provençal ratatouille. All around the Mediterranean there are dishes which use the common Mediterranean vegetables – aubergines, courgettes, peppers, onions, garlic – cooked in olive oil. This is the local one here, based on André Soulier’s recipe in La Cuisine secrète du Languedoc-Roussillon:
Dice the aubergine, courgette and pepper and chop the onion fairly finely. In a large cast iron pan heat some olive oil – a good covering of the base of the pan as this dish takes quite a lot of olive oil. Sauté the aubergine until it begins to brown, then remove and do the same with the courgette and pepper. You may need to add some more oil. Sauté the onion until it softens then put the other vegetables back in the pan, add the chopped tomato, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated.