This dish is a lovely French classic that is the essence of summer eating. Select whatever vegetables are in abundance at the farm stand, farmers’ market, or in your garden! Ratatouille gratin with fresh produce is very forgiving and will allow for variation to accommodate different varieties of vegetable and quantities. It makes an attractive and healthy family meal or dish for entertaining.
Makes one casserole (Serves 3-4 as a light meal or side dish)
Zucchini – three 6-8-inch zucchinis (bigger is not better – choose small zucchinis)
Yellow Squash – three 6-8-inch squash. (again, bigger is not better! Both zucchini and yellow squash are often called “summer squashes.”)
Eggplant – one 6-8-inch eggplant or a few small eggplants
Tomatoes – three or four slicing tomatoes or a couple pints of cherry tomatoes (paste tomatoes work great here too)
Fresh mixed soft herbs – ½ cup chopped (e.g.parsley, dill, chives, basil)
Garlic – 2 cloves thinly sliced
Olive oil – ¼ cup (more as needed)
Hand-torn sourdough breadcrumbs- 1 cup (It is ok for them to be uneven and some pieces larger. Toast by sautéing in olive oil or on a sheet pan in the oven.)
Grated semi-hard cheese – ½ cup (e.g. any Maine-made Tomme, Gouda or Gruyer; fresh goat cheese is great too)
Salt and pepper – to taste (be generous with the salt)
Wash and thinly slice the zucchini, squash and tomatoes. Brush or drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs into a casserole pan. Dredge the vegetable slices through the seasoned oil as you alternate the vegetables in rows standing on their sides. Vegetables that are similar in diameter will make the tidiest appearance raw, but even a haphazard arrangement of vegetable slices will still taste fantastic. Once the slices are all layered, top with the grated cheese and pre-toasted bread crumbs. Bake in a 375-degree oven until the vegetables have released their juices and the casserole is bubbling, 45 minutes -1 hour. Serve ratatouille gratin with fresh produce as a side dish or light main course, and enjoy!
Recipe from Chef Rob Dumas CEC