Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ratatouille - Vegetable Gratin

One of my favorite Pixar movies (behind The Incredibles) is Ratatouille. You can really see Thomas Keller's influence in the amount of detail that the animators put into the inner workings of a professional kitchen. I've wanted to make a ratatouille since I saw the film and was glad to see a summer vegetable gratin recipe in Keller's new book "Ad Hoc". This is a great side dish and even though it's early spring, there was some great looking zucchini, yellow squash and egg plant at Henry's this week. So I thought I'd give this one a try. It's really easy to make and very tasty with some great grilled tri tip.

2-3 roma tomatoes
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
1 japanese eggplant (or other small narrow eggplant)
canola oil
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, finely grated with a microplane grater
kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp of chopped thyme
1/2 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice vegetables with a mandoline as close in size as possible and toss with olive oil and a lite sprinkling of sea salt.

Heat some canola oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, reduce to low, add onions and garlic and season with salt. Cook without browning stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1 tbs of the thyme.

Combine parmesan and bread crumbs and remaining thyme in a small bowl.

Spread onion mixture in the bottom of a 13.5x9.5 gratin dish or 13 inch round shallow baking dish. Arrange a layer of overlapping slices of 1/3 of the squash around the outside edge of the dish. Sprinkle 2-3 tbs of the breadcrumb mixture over the top. Add a row of tomatoes, eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini until you the pan is filled adding a layer of breadcrumbs ontop of each layer. Sprinkle the top with any of the remaining breadcrumb/cheese mixture and a light sprinkling of salt.

Bake for 60-90 minutes until the vegetables are completely tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Server with a light drizzle of EV Olive Oil.

Serves 6-8

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