It was a busy first day of the work week and once again I arrived home late with all my grocery bags in hand, only to realize it was 5pm. Great. I knew I had something in mind for dinner but I couldn’t remember what it was.
I checked my frig and thanked myself for thinking ahead (by one day!) and purchasing a beautiful piece of Alaskan Halibut the day before. I know what you’re thinking. It’s what I was thinking. What am I going to do with that beautiful piece of Halibut? Ha! The million dollar question, right?
Well, I’m feeling oh so very smug right about now. No, actually I feel a little bit brilliant. Because not only did I use my beautiful piece of halibut, I also used my sad-looking eggplant (that didn’t get used for eggplant parmesan), 4 bright green organic zucchini that have been waiting to be used in my whole grain zucchini muffins (that obviously is not going to happen now), and one brilliant shade of yellow pepper that I bought because frankly, it was so beautiful. Add in my Walla Walla sweet onion, organic garlic, fresh rosemary and sage, 5 or 6 juicy red tomatoes and I had a sweet and distinctly rich ratatouille to serve with my halibut.
My secret surprise? A toasted garlicky baguette slice under the flavorful ratatouille! Ahhh… life is good. (for tonight anyway )
Roasted Ratatouille with Fresh Herbs
This little dish does have quite a few “steps”, however, if you prep all your veggies first and then follow the steps the dish will come together beautifully. Once you’ve prepared this dish a few times (hopefully you’ll like it that much!) it will become easier to pull all the steps together more quickly. This is such a great way to use all that spring, summer and fall produce. Feel free to substitute with different types of squash, but always add the eggplant… it gives this dish its signature sweet flavor.
1 large eggplant, thick sliced (or 2 smallish eggplant)
4 small zucchini (or 2 very large zucchini), thick sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, roasted and diced
4 large summer tomatoes, or use 5-6 canned organic whole tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (or more if you like sage)
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1 baguette, sliced (either multi grain or French)
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. I use my convection oven option when roasting veggies. If you don’t have convection oven options, roast the veggies at 425F. Layer the sliced eggplant on a cooling rack or platter and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let them sit for about 15 minutes or so to eliminate excess liquid.
While the eggplant are resting, place the sliced zucchini on a parchment lined cookie sheet and drizzle with a little oil, salt and pepper. Roast the zucchini until they look toasty but not too soft, about 8-10 minutes. (I’ve tried roasting the eggplant and zucchini together to save time, however, the two veggies don’t cook evenly for the same amount of time)
While the zucchini are in the oven, heat a large skillet on medium and add the butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Once the butter is frothy, add the sliced onions and saute until nicely wilted and a little golden about 5-8 minutes. Next add the garlic and saute for an additional minute or two.
When the zucchini are done, add them to the onions and garlic. Fold in the diced roasted yellow pepper and the chopped tomatoes and any juices that accumulated. Let this sit over low heat while you put the eggplant in the oven.
Next, rinse the eggplant and quarter the slices. Season the eggplant once again with salt and little black pepper and drizzle with a bit of oil. Place in the oven and roast for about 8-10 minutes or until a little toasty and soft to the touch.
When the eggplant is done, add them to the veggies in the skillet. If using canned tomatoes I like to add about 1/4 cup of the tomato juice to the skillet.
Toss in the rosemary and sage and then taste for salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and let the veggies sit so the flavors can meld together while you prepare the baguette slices.
Place the baguette slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet and brush with a little olive oil. Toast in the 400F oven until lightly golden brown. When they are done remove them from the oven. Slice a clove of garlic in half and rub the garlic on each of the baguette slices. The bread will be hot so be careful.
To serve, place a baguette slice in the bottom of a bowl or on a plate and top with the ratatouille. Serve with grilled fish, chicken, pork or beef or all by itself as a hearty lunch or light dinner.