Stacked Ratatouille ♥ A Fun Summer Recipe

Stacked Ratatouille ready for the oven
Another hit recipe from our favorite cookbook this summer, Seven Fires. Appearance-wise, it's dramatic; preparation-wise, it's ever so simple. It's just sliced rounds of baked (and 'burned'!) eggplant, tomato and summer squash, topped with a lemony spinach if you like. Works as well for one or two as for a crowd. Low carb.

Who remembers the 2007 movie Ratatouille? I watched it again recently on a rare wet and chilly summer night, snuggling into the story as much as a warm blanket. It's a classic, just like the classic French dish called 'ratatouille' which the movie brought into the mainstream. (And taught a whole generation, perhaps two, how to pronounce the word. Can you say rat-uh-TOO-ee?) It's a sweet pleasure, made for laughing out loud during a movie for two or in a theater with a crowd.

Stacked Ratatouille, too. It's rare to find a recipe that feeds one or two as easily as it feeds a crowd.

The first times I made this, the table was set for two and three so small oven-safe sandwich plates were the right size and looked so dramatic! For these small tables, we followed the inspiring recipe and topped the vegetables with lemony spinach greens. Wow. The vegetables roast to something almost creamy, topping them with that slight bitterness of spinach? Not to be forgotten. This version could easily make for a delicious vegan main dish.

Stacked Ratatouille for One or Two in individual serving dishes

The third time, I arranged the vegetables in circles in a quiche pan and topped them with fresh herbs. It added beautiful color to the buffet at my book club's annual summer party. Even the kids dug in like fiends!

Stacked Ratatouille for a Crowd

STACKED RATATOUILLE

Hands-on time: 15 minutes for only the Ratatouille, another 15 for the Spinach
Time to table: 40 minutes for only the Ratatouille, 1 hour including the Spinach
Serves as many as you like!

RATATOUILLE
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Asian eggplant (the long narrow ones)
Roma tomatoes (see KITCHEN NOTES)
Small yellow squash and/or zucchini

Oregano (see NOTES)

SPINACH
Fresh spinach leaves (not baby spinach, see NOTES), washed very well and tough stems removed, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Juice of a lemon (preserved lemon works too)

RATATOUILLE Preheat oven to 400F. Fill three bowls with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. (See NOTES.) Slice thin rounds of eggplant in one bowl, tomato in the second, squash in the third. Splosh these around, covering all sides with oil. (If you're making the spinach too, I'd recommend cleaning it now, letting the vegetable rounds soak in the oil for just a bit. But it's also fine to keep moving.) Create rows of the rounds, eggplant, tomato, squash; eggplant, tomato, squash; arrange in an oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle with oregano. Bake for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through. Place the vegetables under the broiler for a minute or two or five, putting a slight 'burn' on the tops.

SPINACH About 5 minutes before the Ratatouille is ready, cook the wet spinach in a hot skillet until just soft. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the lemon juice. Arrange atop the Ratatouille.


KITCHEN NOTES
The trick is to get vegetables about the same size, hence the Roma tomatoes which are about the right size when matched up with Asian eggplant and small summer squash.
We tried both fresh oregano and dried -- and preferred the dried which held its distinctive oregano flavor better when confronted with heat.
Why not use baby spinach? I know, I know, it's so convenient to buy bags of cleaned baby spinach! But baby spinach is so tender that it almost melts when it hits the heat. It's too tender! I've learned to really appreciate the sturdier spinach, both for taste and texture, if it's being cooked.
Could you use one bowl? I suppose. But three bowls separate the vegetables juices/flavors until they reach the oven.



This recipe for Stacked Ratattouille is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes being published all summer long in 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!




MORE RATATOUILLE RECIPES
from Kitchen Parade
~ Ratatouille ~
the same vegetables but somehow an entirely different dish, also a huge favorite
~ Ratatouille Omelettes ~

from A Veggie Venture
~ Summer Vegetable Stew ~
again, many of the same vegetables but entirely different

~ more eggplant recipes ~
~ more Weight Watchers recipes ~
~ more low-carb recipes ~




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Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
© Copyright 2009

12 comments:

That looks beautiful. I'm enjoying that book, too!

oh my that looks so delish, i'm starving and i wish i could grab it right off the screen. must try this sometime, never made ratatouille. i so love roasted veggies.

Look at those colors! I'm in love! This would be the perfect healthy addition to a potluck. I always struggle with bringing something that is wholesome, yet won't scare people away because of it being unusual...

This is too pretty to run away from =)

Too pretty to eat!

STACKED.

ratatouille is so delicious. what better way to celebrate the bounty of the season! my eggplant is growing away in my garden and i am so happy!

This isn't ratatouille ! it's prepared with the same vegetables as ratatouille, but it's called a 'tian' ( which is the name of the pan in which it is baked ).
And spinach, though an interesting twist is not included in the original recipe...

this is too beautiful to eat!

This is so pretty! And I just got three skinny eggplants in my CSA box -- now I know what to do with them!

I love the colors, I almost wouldn't want to eat it. Almost being the key word. I'll have to check out that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

This is such a beautiful way to present summer vegetables. I would be tempted to call it a tian. It looks delicious.

As many others have commented, this is a vegetable tian, but I can see how it is inspired by ratatouille. It reminds me of a dish by Ina Garten on the show Barefoot Contessa.

I have always loved Ratatouille and how tasty it can be. Can't wait to give this recipe a try. Will probably take me a few tries to make it look as yummy as yours but I'll do it!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna