For some reason, I've always been interested in ratatouille. Maybe its because of the name... let's be honest, ratatouille is just fun to say! Actually, it is because of the name. Because as I think about it, I've never really known what ratatouille is. I've always known it is a French veggie dish, but not much more than that. I've learned that ratatouille is just a fancy name for roasted (or stewed or grilled) vegetable salad. It always seems like the French like to keep around fancy names for really simple, commonplace dishes. But I suppose if they invented the dish, they can call it whatever they want!
I was watching the Food Network this weekend (at 7am... thanks, Callie) and Rachael Ray was making ratatouille. Granted, this was a beefed up Rachael Ray version of ratatouille. This is ok sometimes, but it struck me as heavy, even though it was completely vegetarian. And its PERFECT grilling weather out, I just don't feel like eating a rich, hearty stew. So I got to looking into some more ratatouille recipes online, and I found one from Bobby Flay that looked absolutely delicious.
This is a grilled ratatouille. I can see where this would be a very versatile dish. It's be good by itself or with crusty bread, over pasta, with chicken or meat, on a panini or a sandwich, the list goes on. It would be good skewered and served as a healthier option at a cookout. I had mine topped with black pepper and crumbled goat cheese, but it would be equally delicious topped with parmesan, feta, or fresh mozzarella. I can also see that it would be great topped with a fried or poached egg. It feels a lot lighter than the Rachael Ray version because it is grilled, so it is perfect for the summer.
Another thing worth noting: I made half of what Bobby Flay called for, and I'll probably be eating on this all week. But I don't see an easy way to cut it down from here. So go ahead and make the "full" recipe, then enjoy experimenting with the leftovers.
adapted from Bobby Flay
1 summer squash
1 eggplant (Bobby Flay calls for Japanese Eggplant, but I used regular - use whatever you want)
2 bell peppers (any color you want)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
6-8 cloves garlic
1-2 T red wine vinegar
herbes de provence (this is the French version of Italian Seasoning)
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Peel the garlic cloves and put the in the middle of a piece of tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Wrap loosely in the foil, and toss on the grill. This will cook 15-20 minutes, so it should go on before the rest of the veggies. You'll also want to put a strip of foil on the grill to preheat for the tomatoes.
Cut the squash, zucchini, and eggplant into 1/2 - 1 inch spears. Cut the core out of the pepper and cut the pepper into chunks. Cut the onion into 2 or 3 slices. Thread the cherry tomatoes onto skewers. Drizzle all of the veggies with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Toss to coat. Put the tomato skewers on the aluminum foil, and arrange the rest of the veggies on the grill. My grill is tiny, so this took 2 batches.
Flip the veggies after 5 minutes. Cook 5 minutes on the second side. Loosely fold the foil up around the tomatoes to catch all of the juices, and lift off the grill onto a board or into a bowl. Cook all the rest of the veggies until they are almost cooked through. My grill cooks really hot, so I shortened these times quite a bit.
Pull the tomatoes off the skewers and mash slightly in the bottom of the bowl. Mash the garlic and add to the tomatoes. Stir in the red wine vinegar and 1 T olive oil. Roughly chop the rest of the veggies and add to the tomato mixture. Toss together and serve warm or at room temperature.
I topped mine with goat cheese and freshly cracked pepper. I served it with a piece of grilled bread and a glass of wine. Yum!