Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille
This recipe takes inspiration from Julia Child's classic recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but with ingredients separately grilled. Ratatouille incorporates two other recipes (oven dried tomatoes and tomato sauce), so the dish takes a bit of planning. The result is wondrous flavor.
Ratatouille can easily fly solo as a vegetarian entree, or serve as a memorable side dish.
Prep time: 60 minutes total: 30 minutes unattended (Not including oven drying time for tomatoes)
Cook time: 90 minutes
about 2 lbs ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges, and oven dried
2 large eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
2 large zucchini, scraped and cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
3 TB olive oil for the grilled vegetables
2-3 TB olive oil for the onions
1-2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 bell peppers, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
2 cups homemade tomato sauce
1-2 cups fresh basil and parsley, chopped (hard to have too much fresh basil)
Layer the eggplant and zucchini in a large baking dish, salting each layer, and set aside minutes. After 30 minutes, rinse and dry the slices. Preheat the grill. In a large bowl, Turn the zucchini, eggplant, and pepper slices in the 3 TB olive oil. This may need to be done in stages unless you have a brobdignagian bowl. Grill vegetable slices for 6-8 minutes, turning once, or until they are soft. Remove to cool on a platter, keeping the vegetables separate. When the grilled vegetables have cooled enough to handle, slice them into pieces about 1x2". Keep the vegetables separated by kind. (This step is optional, and will make the finished dish easier to serve.)
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium low heat and saute the onion and garlic for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Remove from heat heat. (If you like the challenge of multitasking, the saute and grill steps can be done simultaneously.)
Preheat the oven to 300. Spread about 1/3 of the onion, 1/3 of the dried tomatoes, and 1/3 of the peppers on the bottom of a dutch oven/stock pot. Dress with 2/3 cup of the tomato sauce. Cover with half of the zucchini, half of the eggplant, and half of the basil & parsley. Dress with another 2/3 cup sauce. Spread the remainder of the onions, tomatoes & peppers, the rest of the zucchini, eggplant, and the rest of the basil & parsley. Top with the remaining sauce.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Top with the remainder of the onions, tomatoes & peppers. Cover and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until heated through.
Ratatouille can be served hot, warm or cold
Tip 1: Paste tomatoes have less water, and so take less time in the oven.
Tip 2: If the dish seems dry as you assemble it, add a little tomato sauce between the layers.
Photo and recipe by Tod Dimmick