I saw this recipe for Grilled Ratatouille Boats in the Rachael Ray mag and was intrigued. I had never cooked eggplant before and wasn't quite sure what was in Ratatouille. Anyway. I have seen pics on the web, and I also knew that it was Disney's Chef rodent. I can"t even say the "R" word on a food blog.
Ratatouille, don't you just love to say the word, Rat-a too-ee? Or I might have to ask Jill Colona -Le Blog for help. (I still remember my 4 yrs. of French from high school though. Amazing, since I can't remember where my keys are.) I "googled" Ratatouille and it is a vegetable stew originating in Provence, France. It is comprised of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions, garlic, and zucchini, all of which are stewed together (perhaps after an initial sauté to better develop their flavors) until the mixture is very soft and the flavors have blended together I didn't put peppers in mine.. It is often flavored with a hint of bay leaf and thyme. I used basil. It is most often eaten hot, but is also delicious served cold on a hot day.
*Before you start cooking the globe eggplant, you need to salt it to remove the bitterness. If you are using a narrow Japanese eggplant, you do not need to salt. That's per SP Cookie Queen , Thanks, Gina. I had a globe eggplant, so I had to salt. it. First, peel your eggplant, and cube it or slice, according to your recipe. Then you generously salt your eggplant and place in a colander for about one hour. Salting helps pull out juices that carry bitter flavors, and it collapses the air pockets in the eggplant's sponge-like flesh, thus preventing it from absorbing too much oil and getting greasy. Rinse the eggplant in plenty of water to remove the salt, firmly squeeze a few pieces at a time in the palm of your hand to draw out almost all the moisture, and then pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. Thorough drying is important; squeezing out excess moisture will give you a less greasy result, and a silky texture.
These Ratatouille Boats make a great side dish. lunch or light dinner with all the wonderful flavors of the zucchini, eggplant, tomato, garlic and basil topped with cheese. Voilà! Enjoy! Parlez-vous français?
Now your ready to start Grilled Ratatouille Boats.
Grilled Ratatouille Boats Adapted from Katie Barreira, Every Day with Rachael Ray
- 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise**
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 eggplant, cubed, and salted *
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Make zucchini boats in a flash by scooping out the seeds and a bit of flesh from the center for a hollowed-out shell that can be stuffed and grilled or baked in the oven.
1. Scoop balls of flesh from the center of the zucchini to create boats (see tip for help); reserve the flesh balls. Preheat a grill to medium-high.
2. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, the eggplant and zucchini balls; cover and cook for 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the basil; season with salt and pepper.
3. Fill the zucchini shells with the ratatouille, sprinkle with the cheese and grill, covered, over medium-high until the cheese is melted and the shells are slightly softened.