One of my co-workers “donates” his excess produce to me. This week it was a couple of mid-size eggplants. My mind went to ratatouille. The farm next to the office yield everything else I needed.
Ratatouille with Roasted Eggplant and Summer Squashes
Prep time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Total time: 4 hours – only about 45 minutes is active time
- 2 mid-size eggplants (about 1 3/4 lbs. total), cut into 1″ pieces
- 2 tsp. table salt
- 3 zucchini, approx. 1″ in diameter (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cut into 1″ pieces
- 3 summer squash, approx. 1″ in diameter (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cut into 1″ pieces
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, 1/2″ dice
- 2 bell peppers, seeded, 1/2″ pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
- 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
- 2 lbs. cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- kosher salt and ground black pepper
- Toss the eggplant pieces with the table salt and place in a large colander set in a bowl or pot. Cover with a paper towel and rest for 3 hours. Thoroughly rinse the eggplant to remove excess salt and transfer to a salad spinner. Spin 2 or 3 times until eggplant is dry.
- Adjust the racks in the oven so that one is in the upper third and the other is in the middle. Preheat the oven to 500°F (or 475°F if you have a convection oven). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine the dried eggplant, zucchini and summer squash with about 1/4 cup of oil and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Split evenly between the 2 baking sheets and spread into a single layer. Season with black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pans and stirring vegetables after 10 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling racks and hold.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the onions and peppers, sprinkle with kosher salt, stir to coat with oil. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and chile flakes. Stir to incorporate and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the whole cherry tomatoes, stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, again stirring occasionally. Some of the tomatoes will burst and others will remain whole. It’s ok.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Add the roasted vegetables and herbs and carefully stir to combine. Taste, adjust salt and pepper as desired.
This came out pretty well if I do say so myself. The veggies stayed fairly cohesive while the onions and peppers basically melted into the background. That said there’s room for improvement. I think I would only roast the veggies for 20 minutes in the future to leave a bit more bite to the veggies.
This recipe is based on past experience with technique learned from Cook’s Illustrated. Additional inspiration was found in Alice Waters’ Ratatouille.