As much as I have always adored ratatouille, a very traditional French dish of stewed vegetables, it’s always felt like a bit of a paradox. To me, it’s such warming comfort food that I crave in the depths of winter, yet, it uses some of the best summer vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant. I wanted a ratatouille that felt like summer. Grilling feels like summer.
This dish is so versatile. Serve the ratatouille as a side dish, warm or room temperature. Top off a salad with it and add some crumbles of goat cheese. Or…make this tartine. A tartine is simply an open faced sandwich. Use the best bread you can buy (or bake). It will make all the difference. Lately, I’ve been in love with this multigrain baguette, but even a sliced crusty loaf would work well. This makes a wonderful dinner or even a summery appetizer.
Grilled Ratatouille Tartine
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
1 medium yellow squash, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
1 large red bell pepper, trimmed, seeds and ribs removed, cut into quarters
1 large red onion, trimmed and peeled, sliced into thick slices
2 – 3 large tomatoes, cored, sliced into thick slices
1 large or 2 small eggplant, peeled, trimmed and sliced into thick slices vertically
4 large cloves garlic
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 t. herb de Provence
2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
crusty baguette or your favorite bread
Preheat your grill to high heat.
On a large baking sheet, arrange all of your cut vegetables, up to and including the eggplant. Drizzle over some of the olive oil, just to coat. Sprinkle with some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Place the cloves of garlic into a small sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle just a tiny smidgen of olive oil. Seal the packet of foil up around the garlic.
Take all of your veggies and garlic packet out to the grill. First place the onions and eggplant on, since they will take a bit longer to cook. Fill up the rest of the grill with whatever zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper you can fit. Throw on the garlic packet in a corner of the grill. Save the tomatoes for the second batch. Close the cover and check in about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn once you get nice grill marks and cover and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of your slices. Once the first batch of vegetables are cooked, remove them (leave the onions and garlic on…they will get nice and soft) and add the tomatoes. Grill as you did the other veggies, but keep an eye on them, they will cook much faster. When done pile them all back on the baking sheet and don’t forget the garlic packet!
Set the baking sheet on the counter to cool enough to handle. When cool, chop the vegetables into small pieces. If you cut them as directed, you’ll just have to run your knife through them. Remove some of the charred skin from the peppers if you wish. Place the chopped veggies in a large bowl. Remove the garlic from the foil packet and squeeze the cloves out of their skin onto the cutting board. Using your knife, smash the garlic into a paste. Add that to the bowl. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, sprinkle on the herb de Provence, parsley, sea salt and some more freshly ground pepper. Toss to coat.
To make a tartine, slice your baguette into thirds or quarters, then in half horizontally. Brush the baguette with extra virgin olive oil and place on the hot grill for just about 30 to 45 seconds. Turn and grill for just another few seconds. Top with the ratatouille.
- I kept this light and only use olive oil on the bread, but try smearing a bit of goat cheese on the bread first, then topping with the ratatouille. Goat cheese works really well with these flavors.
- This makes a lot of ratatouille, making dinners and lunches really easy through the week.