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A Day's Veggies in a Single Dish

July 25, 1996|BEV BENNETT | Bennett is the author of four cookbooks, including the award-winning "Dinner for Two" (Barron's)

A recent survey conducted by nutrition professionals proved that many Americans are not heeding the advice to have five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Some of those interviewed expressed shock that anyone could eat more than three or four.

Actually, it seems more overwhelming than it has to be. Think of how often you could add vegetables to a meal without much effort. For example, add tomato slices and a few lettuce leaves to a hamburger; use a little more "L" and "T" in the BLT; chop some bell peppers into spaghetti sauce.

It's painless.

Of course, for some it might be easier to have one vegetable bonanza a day and stop counting. If that's your preference, prepare ratatouille frittata. Ratatouille is a vegetable stew, created by French cooks who didn't have to be persuaded to eat more produce. It's a summer dish designed to take advantage of eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and whatever aromatic herbs are on hand.

In this recipe, ratatouille is combined with eggs and Parmesan cheese, cooked until firm and served in wedges. If the heap of vegetables in the skillet is off-putting, don't worry. It cooks down to a reasonable amount. Since no one suggests you have to stop at five servings, serve the frittata with zesty corn relish.

RATATOUILLE FRITTATA

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely diced red or yellow bell pepper

1 leek, white part only, trimmed, washed and diced

1 Japanese eggplant, trimmed and diced

1 cup diced mushrooms

2 small tomatoes, cored and diced

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 eggs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet. Add bell pepper and saute over medium heat 5 minutes. Add leek and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggplant and mushrooms and saute 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil and cook 5 more minutes. Season lightly with salt, generously with pepper. Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside.

Wipe skillet with paper towel. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and heat over medium-high heat.

Beat eggs in large bowl. Add vegetables and stir well. Pour eggs into skillet and cook until almost set, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover skillet, remove from heat and set aside 5 minutes or until eggs are set and cheese melted. Serve hot.

Makes 2 generous servings.

Each serving contains about:

466 calories; 521 mg sodium; 435 mg cholesterol; 35 grams fat; 21 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams protein; 2.37 gram fiber.

CORN RELISH

2 ears corn, cooked, with kernels cut from cobs

1 green onion, green part only, diced

1 to 2 Hungarian cherry peppers, diced

1 small stalk celery, trimmed and diced

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Juice of 1 lime

Salt, pepper

Combine corn kernels, onion, peppers and celery in serving bowl. Toss gently. Stir together cumin and lime juice. Pour over relis and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about:

97 calories; 180 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 1.01 grams fiber.

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