Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pan Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille

[Ratatouille: from Food Lover's Companion: [ra-tuh-TOO-ee; ra-tuh-TWEE] A popular dish from the French region of Provence that combines eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic and herbs-all simmered in olive oil. The vegetables can vary according to the cook. They can be cooked together, or cooked separately and then combined and heated briefly together. Ratatouille can be served hot, cold or at room temperature, either as a side dish or as an appetizer with bread or crackers.]

That's what came up on AnswersDotcom when I Googled ratatouille before entitling this post. Just to make sure my definition was correct. If you roast the vegetables, then combine them, is it still ratatouille? Turns out the answer is yes. Plus, the vegetables don't have to be swimming in olive oil to be ratatouille. And did you know that the original ratatouille, being a summer dish, didn't include eggplant, a more autumnal vegetable? True.
This dish was made from farmers market produce before the wedding (post coming soon), put together in less than 1 hour as an offering to a potluck party. Less fat, more flavor, kind to the budget; a vegetarian/vegan delight. The croutons are my way of putting the bread/crackers inside the dish instead of on the outside looking in.
Christine's Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille
Serves 8 as a side
Ingredients:
2 medium eggplant
4 patty pan squash
4 medium zucchini
2 large red bell peppers, seeded
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
1 cup large-sized croutons
olive oil
herbed salt*
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Preparation:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a roasting pan with olive oil.
Beginning with the eggplant, slice off the stem and blossom ends then cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips. Cut each strip again into 1-inch wide lengthwise strips then finish by cutting crosswise into 1-inch cubes. This will become more apparent as you are cutting. Please forgive me for not providing a photo of the process.
Toss the eggplant cubes into the roasting pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of herb salt, toss to blend then roast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until softened.
While the eggplant is roasting, prepare the rest of the vegetables, cutting the squashes, peppers and onions into cubes to match the eggplant, and chopping the garlic in a smaller, more refined manner.
Drizzle olive oil into a larger roasting pan then add the squashes, peppers, onions and garlic to the pan. Season with the herb salt.
Pull the eggplant out of the oven when it has softened. Set aside.
Put the squash mixture into the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until softened. Remove from the oven.
Add the eggplant, diced tomatoes and croutons to the squash mixture, toss well, season with more olive oil and herb salt if necessary then put the pan back into the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until all the vegetables have swooned into each other and are sightly caramelized.
Put into a pretty casserole dish and off it goes to the potluck, or on your dinner table.


Cook's Notes:
I use locally produced Brio croutons, made from leftover breads, infused with herbs and goodness.
The herb salt in this dish is one I made using Himalayan pink salt ground with organic dried herbs - post coming soon.
Oh the wedding. Have I got photos for you!


Copyright © 2005-2008, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved

6 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Ratatouille is always so good and it's always so different. Wonderful photo of all the veggies Christine. Sounds like there's lots of goodies coming soon!!

Kalyn said...

Oh yum! Looking forward to hearing more about the wedding too.

Simona said...

I missed the farmers' market and delicious vegetarian dishes like this one. Hope to see you soon and to hear about the wedding.

Christine said...

More farmers market veggie photos to come, Tanna. Along with a few recipes, too.

Thank you Kalyn. I'm working on a few wedding pics to share.

Simona, it will be good to have you back home after your travels.

Anonymous said...

Looks good Christine, have been away so haven't kept up with your blog.
Anne

gourmetbliss said...

This looks awesome! Going to try this ASAP.