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  • Suzanne Yearley

Turn Farmer's Market Bounty into Dinner: Ratatouille, 2 Ways...

September 17, 2017

Suzanne Yearley



There is something about the rich and jammy scent of this delicious vegetable stew roasting in the oven that will pique the interest of even the most vegetable-resistant among us. It is a gratifying moment as a chef when you turn a picky eater onto a new food or two, and that is exactly what happened with this ratatouille. My daughter, normally an abstainer from anything involving tomatoes and eggplant, is now an enthusiastic convert. She even ate the leftovers the next day after school. That is truly success! 


Helped along by the high oven temperature, the flavors of each vegetable come together to create something completely different and altogether better than each part on its own. I call for specific vegetables here, but feel free to substitute and mix: yellow or orange for red peppers, yellow squash for green, plum tomatoes for beefsteak. The more colorful the better.


Make this on it's own or serve as a side dish with grilled chicken, meat or fish. Or add the fish right as you are cooking. Finally, stuff into a baked potato and top with melted sharp cheddar for a meat-free dinner or snack. 


The  key here is generous seasoning and  allowing the vegetables to caramelize.




Sheet Pan Ratatouille with Basil: Three Ways with Roasted Halibut or Jacket Potatoes 

Adapted from Feasting at Home

Ingredients:


a large eggplant (1 ¼-1 1/2 lbs.), cut into 1-inch dice

2 bell peppers (1 lb.); red, yellow or a combination, cut vertically into ¾” strips and halved

1 ¼-1 1/2 lbs. plum or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 3/4” thick wedges, slices or halved if small

2 zucchini or summer squash (1 ¼-1 1/2lbs.), cut in half vertically and sliced, crosswise, into half moons

1 large red onion (1 lb.), cut in half and sliced into ½” wedges

10 peeled, whole garlic cloves

¼ cup good olive oil

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

one recipe Simple Basil Pesto or store-bought, optional


To serve with Roasted Halibut:

four 6-ounce pieces of halibut filet

1 tablespoon good olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 lemon

one recipe Basil Pesto or store-bought, optional


To serve with Jacket Potatoes:

four Idaho potatoes, scrubbed well

1-2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, preferably white

one recipe Basil Pesto or store-bought, optional

------------

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450^F. Combine all of the vegetables, onion and garlic in a large bowl. Add the oil and seasonings and toss to coat well.Spread the mixture out on a large (approx. 12"x17) sheet pan in a single layer. Use two pans if necessary.

Roast for 60 minutes, mixing well every 20 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize.

Taste, adjust salt, and serve immediately with the Basil Pesto, if using, or cool and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.


To serve with Roasted Halibut:





Rub the fish filets with olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. When the ratatouille has 10-15 minutes left in the oven, place the fish filets on top of the vegetables and return to the oven to roast.  When the fish is just cooked through, remove the sheet tray from the oven. Carefully remove the fish to a clean plate and top with freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Divide the ratatouille among 4 plates, top with the fish, basil pesto (if using), and a sprig of fresh basil for garnish.

Serves 4, generously.


To serve with Jacket Potatoes:

Place the scrtubbed potatoes in the oven next to or below the tray of vegetables and roast for the full 60 minutes with the ratatouille.  Remove the potatoes and ratatouille from the oven. Split the potatoes vertically, top with ratatouille and ¼-1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes, if desired, to further melt the cheese. Serve immediately with the basil pesto, if using, and a basil sprig for garnish.

Serves 4, generously.






Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

3 cups loosely packed basil leaves

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese


In a blender or food processor, pulse the garlic clove, salt, pepper and pine nuts until roughly chopped.  Add the basil and pulse a few times to rough chop. With the motor running, add the oil in a stream and puree until the oil is incorporated and the pesto fairly smooth.Stir in the parmesan cheese. Finished pesto will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and in the freezer for up to three months.


Makes 1/2 cup.



Tags:

side dish

farmer's market

tomatoes

dinner

eggplant

oven

sheet pan

good for leftovers

vegetarian

gluten-free

Provencal

fish

chicken

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