While in New Zealand I had a German roommate; her name is Carolin. I love her. She is the sweetest thing ever. She tried to teach me German, and I sucked at it. I took her running with me, and she rocked it. She was my beer (and wine, and sangria) drinking buddy. We did dishes together and talked about food. What’s a better common denominator than food?
Our flat used to do Family Dinners once a week; it was a day when we could all just sit down, relax, have a few bottles of wine, eat something delicious and hot, and catch up with one another. While Carolin is German, her boyfriend is French, and she learned how to make ratatouille from his grandmother. Let me tell you…when it was her night to cook, I’m pretty sure I asked her to make this. Every time. It was the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve had my share of ratatouille. I’m sure the amount of butter she used contributed to it’s deliciousness….and it was totally worth it.
When I came home to the US, I vowed I would make ratatouille for my family. I have yet to make it the way Carolin did, but I did make the version I’m about to share with you today.
This version is grilled outside. We’ve been having some AMAZING weather here in CT this August and I wanted to take advantage of it, because who knows if it will remain this beautiful. Our garden is also producing, which means YAY fresh veggies! Below you see some of our yellow squash, tomatoes, and red peppers; not pictured the onion and eggplant.
So, I threw on my Big-Girl apron, lit up the grill, grabbed my tongs and set to work. I’ve grilled chicken before, and peaches. Both worked out well, and tastily. The only issue I had with this attempt was that the smaller veg kept falling through the grill grates. (Because I wanted those lovely char marks, dammit, and I would get them).
But apart from the loss of a few tasty slices, this recipe was absolutely phenomenal. It wasn’t Carolin’s, but it was close.
We ate the ratatouille with a sprouted bean trio of mung beans, green lentils, and adzuki beans. Delicious. I guess, since we ate the ratatouille with the beans, it isn’t a traditional salad…but it’s delicious, and that’s what counts.
I’ve used this recipe almost exactly. I did change some amounts, because I didn’t have enough of what it called for. But, otherwise, it’s almost exact. While we ate it with the beans, it is also amazing over pasta, like a sauce; over couscous, rice, or alone out of a bowl…hot or cold…the day of, or two days later. Really, when I’m trying to say is this is delicious anytime, anyway.
I hope you enjoy it!
adapted from foodnetwork.com
1 small eggplant (I used a white eggplant. It has a lovely mild flavor)
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium zucchini (I used yellow squash)
1 medium red bell pepper
1 small red onion
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly slicedMethod:
- Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Soak in a bowl of lightly salted water, 15 to 20 minutes. The water will turn a brownish color. Remove the eggplant slices from the water and squeeze out the excess moisture.
- Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Stem and seed the bell pepper; slice the pepper and onion into 1/2-inch-thick rings.
- Heat a grill, or grill pan if you’re cooking inside, to medium high.
- Brush the vegetables with the olive oil on both sides and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
- Grill the vegetables, turning, until soft and marked, about 6 minutes for the tomatoes, 7 to 8 minutes for the bell pepper, onion and zucchini, and about 10 minutes for the eggplant.
- Let cool.
- Drizzle the vegetables with the vinegar. Divide the zucchini and eggplant among plates and arrange in a circle, overlapping slightly. Top with the bell pepper, tomato and onion. Sprinkle with the basil.