What happens when you mix springtime produce with a little love and attention? I don't know because my last relationship with a vegetable ended badly (cue cymbals, please). But seriously, whoever said ratatouille was a pain to make clearly did not invest any time at all.
Simply cut up a medley of veggies and then cook them down, but choose wisely. Onions, eggplants, zucchini, and tomatoes are French favorites, but I twisted it a bit, using no eggplants (too heavy), adding olives (I had black, so I used them), and finishing the dish with freshly diced red onion for a springier bite. I also added lentils because, let's face it, who doesn't like lentils?
Let it all cook down in some olive oil, add a little herbes de provence, salt and pepper it and you are ready to go! Mix in the red onion dices just as you're about to eat. It's light enough to not weigh you down on a warm April day, but heartier enough not to send you back to the fridge.
And have some good bread on hand to soak up the juices. I found a new favorite bakery in my area that makes pain des amis, bread of the friends, that I just fell in love with. I got a big hunk of it for 2 euros and 50 cents, and at first was not enticed. It's just bread.
But once I bit into the crusty exterior and tasted the wood that was used in the stove, the hickory (or is it maple?) crunchiness that made me want more, I was hooked. Perfect compliment to a perfect springtime lunch.