Source: Brooke Lewy, Vegetables on Fire
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on September 30, 2017.
This ratatouille is summery, light, and just a little bit fancy. It’s also very simple—a good place to showcase gorgeous farmers’ market veggies—so season, season, season. Serve it with orzo on the side or piled on grilled crusty bread.
Makes 4 servings
1 pound eggplant, cut into ¼-inch rounds
½ pound zucchini, cut into ¼-inch rounds
½ pound yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch rounds
2 red bell peppers, seeded, de-ribbed, and cut into very thin rings
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
½ red onion, cut into ¼-inch rounds, keeping rings as intact as possible
¾ cup tomato purée
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh oregano
6 ounces feta cheese
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Heat the grill to medium. Place the eggplant, zucchini, squash, and bell peppers in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish or 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Toss the vegetables with 3 tablespoons of oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Brush the onion slices with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt. Transfer all the vegetables to the grill. Cook until they take on grill marks and just start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes, and then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.
While the vegetables are grilling, pour the tomato purée into the bottom of the same baking dish that was holding the vegetables, as it should still have a bit of oil and salt left behind. Season the purée with additional salt and pepper. Add the garlic and the leaves from 2 of the oregano sprigs. Stir to evenly distribute the garlic and herbs. Set aside.
Once the vegetables have grill marks on both sides, transfer them to a plate. To assemble the ratatouille, in the baking dish, make a layer of eggplant on top of the tomato purée, overlapping the slices slightly. Follow with a layer of zucchini, then a layer of onions, then peppers, then squash. If you have more vegetables, start again with eggplants and repeat until all of the vegetables are used up.
Press down lightly to compress the vegetables, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and then add the leaves from the two remaining oregano sprigs and another sprinkling of salt and pepper. Crumble the feta over the top.
Place the baking dish back on the grill and cover. Cook the ratatouille, undisturbed, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and starting to caramelize at the edges of the pan, the vegetables are fully soft, and the feta is melted. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with parsley.Indoor method: oil and season vegetables as directed. Heat a ridged grill pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the eggplant, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and onion slices in batches, taking care not to crowd them together. Cook each vegetable, turning once, until both sides have grill marks and are just starting to soften. As the vegetables finish cooking, transfer them to a plate, and then layer as directed above. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Once the ratatouille is fully assembled, transfer the cast-iron skillet or baking dish to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and starting to caramelize at the edges of the pan, the vegetables are fully soft, and the feta is melted.
To serve, cut the ratatouille into squares, so the different layers are visible from the side.