In a 4-quart Dutch oven or large deep saute pan, cook eggplant, yellow pepper and onion in hot oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally.Advertisement
Stir in tomatoes, zucchini, thyme, garlic, salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover pan and cook about 5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender but not mushy, stirring occasionally. (If mixture sticks to pan, add a splash of water.)
Let stand, covered, about 15 minutes. (Vegetables will continue to soften and flavors will develop as the pan sits.) Remove thyme sprigs; discard. Serve warm (over garlic bread if desired) or at room temperature, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped basil or parsley.
Combine 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 mashed garlic clove. Spread on 4 large ¾-inch-thick slices artisanal bread. Bake on a sheet pan in a 425° oven for 4 to 6 minutes or until crisp and golden.