Ratatouille is a classic Southern French dish, originally hailing from Nice and Provence, of stewed vegetables with herbs. It is a great side dish or a super crepe filling, in pasta, or it can be served on its own with rice. The basic concept is an easy one marrying a selection of fresh spring and summer vegetables. Most Mediterranean cuisines have a “ratatouille-like” dish. In Spain they have a similar dish called pisto, Sicily has caponata, the Greeks offer briám, and so on.
While I really like the traditional preparation(s) I most often crave this modern, grilled version that I have developed over the years.
In the grilled version the vegetables maintain their individual flavors and integrity while playing well with their co-ingredients. A fresh and tart vinaigrette brings it all together. The grilled version is free of the moisture issue that can often plague the traditional ratatouille.
Grilled Ratatouille is the perfect picnic buffet item as it ideally supports any grilled meat or fish.
Ingredients for Grilled Ratatouille
- 2 red bell peppers, quartered
- 2 yellow bell peppers, quartered
- 2 zucchini, cut into ½ inch lengthwise strips
- 2 yellow squash, cut into ½ inch lengthwise strips
- 2 eggplant, cut into ½ inch lengthwise strips
- 2 red onions, quartered
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- One head of roasted garlic
- 3 tablespoons of rinsed capers
- 1/4 cup of pitted and chopped olive oil cured black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- mixed finely chopped herbs including thyme, basil, and marjoram
Method : Give the vegetables a light coating of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill in batches unless you a have a massive grill top that can hold it all at once. Grill the vegetables until cooked but still al dente – you don’t want the veg to become too limp or mushy. When cooked, chop the vegetables into 3/4-inch size pieces and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients (roasted garlic, olives, capers, and herbs), as well as half of the vinaigrette (recipe below) to the grilled ratatouille. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed and add additional vinaigrette if desired.
Sherry & Red Wine Vinegar Vinaigrette for Ratatouille
- ¾ cup Olive Oil
- ¼ cup of Sherry vinegar
- ¼ cup of red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- One clove of garlic minced fine
- salt and pepper