Aug 23, 2010

Ratatouille with grilled eggplant and zucchini

My friend Louise absolutely loves ratatouille.  ”Rat,” she calls it. I’ve never seen anyone get so excited about a bowl of vegetables! So I’m sorry that she couldn’t be there for this slightly tricked-out version made with grilled zucchini and eggplant. I could have grilled the onions and peppers too, but I didn’t want the smoky taste to overwhelm the dish.

Packed with nothing but vegetables, this stuff is pretty damn healthy. To complete the meal I’d recommend pairing it with a whole grain like brown rice and maybe a healthy-ish sausage of your choice. (Although I’ve been known to eat it with nothing but a hunk of crusty bread.)

Anyway, this version is a nice change of pace from the usual ratatouille. In fact, when I tasted the finished dish, I got nearly as fired up as Louise gets about Rat. And trust me, that’s saying a lot.

Ratatouille with Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds eggplant, chopped (salt it if it’s not young, super fresh eggplant)
3 medium zucchini (or use a mixture of zucchini and yellow squash)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
4-5 large very ripe tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Start a fire in your grill. Combine the eggplant and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of oil. Grill in a vegetable basket, stirring, for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables are about halfway cooked. Remove to a plate and hold.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Saute the onions for 8-10 minutes, then add the garlic and peppers and cook 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and parsley, along with the grilled vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are quite soft. Add the fresh basil and serve.

Serves 6

See more recipes: Entrees, Gluten-free, Side dishes, Vegan

Comments

  • Louise

    You’re right. I do love rat. In fact, I was dismayed to discover the other week that it was already mid-August and I hadn’t cooked up a big pot of ratatouille. I am definitely going to fire up my grill to try your recipe. After trying many versions over the years, my favorite so far is Provencal Ratatouille from Silver Palate’s The New Basics Cookbook. Along with the veggies, it calls for pesto, Nicoise olives and anchovies. I skip the anchovies and throw in extra basil leaves and one small, hot pepper for some heat. This summer, I’m adding a cayenne pepper from my garden. And I always serve mine with grated Parmesan cheese. (If there’s one thing I love more than rat, it’s cheese.) Rat is also a wonderful side dish with roasted chicken.

  • New look is great. I love love love the new design.

    I also love Ratatouille — and I love it with Parm, too. But I lately I’ve been making it with a bit of a Greek twist. Last week I slow cooked the Ratatouille veg’s with oregano, basil and mint. Then after it was done, I threw in some feta cheese. You can add olives as well. It’s really good.

    What’s also great is that “Rat” freezes really well. I’ve been filling the freezer all summer — although never add the cheese until after it’s out of the freezer.

    I can’t wait to try grilling the vegetables, too. Maybe my next batch.

  • KAnn

    Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your blog which I learned of on the CL Boards….I have been a vegetarian for most of my life-over 25 years now and follow a vegan diet much of the time. I am a lifelong foodie and have an embarrassingly enormous collection of cookbooks but it is great to find inspiration on the internet!

  • Maria M.

    I make a very similar recipe my mother-in-law taught me in Provence a few summers ago. It did not include basil but it did call for grilling the vegetables first. I think the basil would add a nice lemony flavor. I will certainly try it.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Thanks, KAnn, I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy the blog. Please comment on my recipes, I do love getting feedback!

  • Darienne

    Interesting idea. We don’t use our B-B-Q unit much.

    We’ve eaten Ratatat (as we call it) for years now, on some grainy type thing with Parmesan on top. However, I never really liked the ‘wetness’ factor. Started to simply toss all the vegetables in olive oil and roast them in the oven for a much drier version.

    Might try Louise’s hot pepper and am with Lisa with the basil and mint.

  • Ann

    After purchasing the ingredients at the public market I made this recipe and it is fantastic. Very simple to make and delicious. I served it over multigrain bowtie pasta with a side of fresh green beans. I will definitely make this again.

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