By Dianne Bunis

This column offers ways to prepare native ingredients from farmers markets, farm stands and backyard gardens. The deep purple eggplant, red tomatoes, green zucchini and peppers plus white garlic, all currently available, inspired this week's recipe.

Bon appétit.

Ratatouille (serves 4 to 6)

This Provençal melange of seasonal vegetables can be served over rice, pasta, as an accompaniment to chicken or simply piled onto toasted bread. I suggest Nashoba Bakery's Rosemary and Garlic.

Prepare vegetables on a grill pan to char them or sauté in a skillet on high-medium heat, occasionally turning them. I worked in batches:

1/4 olive oil to coat vegetables

1 medium eggplant, peeled, sliced if grilling, cubed if sautéing

1 medium zuchchini, cut lengthwise

1 large sweet onion, sliced

1 green pepper, 1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced

Remove vegetables when tender, slice or chop into 1-inch pieces, set aside

Reduce skillet heat to medium, drizzle with olive oil and add:

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Add: 1 1/2 cups chopped, seeded, peeled fresh tomatoes. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add and combine all vegetables,

2 sprigs of fresh thyme, cover and cook until everything is tender, about 30 minutes or more.

Season with: Salt and pepper to taste.