I seriously considered calling this “Garden Ratatouille” because I have almost every single ingredient growing in my garden (I’m only missing shallots, garlic, and bay leaves).
But whatever you call it, ratatouille just tastes like summer, and it’s a wonderful way to use up the abundance of summer veg you may have in your garden or CSA boxes this time of year.
I make this ratatouille pretty frequently as a main dish, usually served over couscous, polenta, or quinoa, but I decided to plate it up as an appetizer as part of theLilly’s Table Virtual Progressive Dinner blog tour blogger Lilly Steirer invited me to be a part of!
As part of her Virtual Progressive Dinner, Lily is offering a very cool set of printable meal planners — specifically to help you make the most of your summer produce! — and you KNOW how much I love a good printable. 😉
This recipe ticks a bunch of summer produce boxes. It also freezes well — which is great, because the ratatouille recipe makes more than you’ll need for appetizers (unless you’re having a BIG party!). Stick the leftovers in the freezer and you’ve got a quick weeknight side dish to serve with grilled meats or fried eggs.
Ratatouille Crostini with Goat Cheese
Ratatouille is an incredibly versatile recipe that, on its own, is vegan, Paleo, and gluten-free. Combined with toasted bread and goat cheese, it makes a gorgeous crostini perfect for a summer fête.
- 2 medium sized zucchinis (11 oz)
- 2 small eggplants (11 oz)
- 2 shallots
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1.5 lbs tomatoes
- 1/2 yellow pepper
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1 T tarragon, chopped
- 1 T parsley, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp sugar
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 1 baguette
- Chop the eggplant and zucchini into small cubes. Place in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit in a sink for 30 minutes. (See note.)
- Heat 2 T olive oil in a thick-bottomed pot (Le Creuset style) over medium heat. Add the zucchinis and eggplants and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Set aside. Meanwhile, chop the peppers and slice the shallots and garlic thinly.
- Heat 2 more T olive oil and then add the garlic, peppers and shallots. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until soft. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes.
- Add the tomatoes and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the zucchinis and eggplants again.
- Add the chopped herbs, the bay leaf and the tsp of sugar, and cook uncovered on low heat for 1 hour.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- To prepare the crostini: Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Toast lightly. Top with ratatouille, crumbled goat cheese, and additional chopped herbs, if desired.
The first step is a technique which draws the extra water out of the vegetables. In French, the technique is called "dégorger les légumes." Because of the extra salt added in this step, be sure to taste the finished ratatouille before salting in the final step.
You can prepare the ratatouille a day ahead; the flavors only get better the longer it stands. However, don't prepare the crostini until ready to eat, as the juices from the veggies will make the bread soggy the longer they stand.
Ratatouille is also wonderful as a side dish for grilled meats, or as a main dish with couscous, polenta, or quinoa.
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