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PortWatch

August 28, 2013

Turning classic French ratatouille into a salad

Real ratatouille, the classic Nicoise dish, is neither grilled, nor a salad. It is a stewed vegetable dish consisting of eggplant, tomato, pepper, zucchini, onion and herbs.

Thing is, all of those ingredients would make a delicious salad, particularly if they were grilled. Of course, the dish needed to be deconstructed and reconstructed a bit, but the flavors and ingredients remain the same. In fact, the smokiness and char that the grill adds makes for a nice contrast to the sweet vegetables.

GRILLED RATATOUILLE SALAD

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Servings: 8

2 small eggplants, halved lengthwise

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced, divided

Salt and ground black pepper

1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon balsamic glaze

1 tablespoon herbes de Provence

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 red bell pepper

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Using a paring knife, slice shallow slits into the cut sides of the eggplant halves. Drizzle the eggplants with olive oil, then rub half of the garlic and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper into the flesh. Brush the onion slices and the zucchini halves with a little more olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Fold a large sheet of heavy-duty foil into thirds the long way. Open the foil. Place the tomatoes in the middle third of the foil, then drizzle them with the balsamic glaze and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with the herbes de Provence, the remaining garlic and the red pepper flakes. Stir gently to combine. Fold the foil closed, crimping the ends to make a packet.

Grill the eggplant, onion slices, zucchini halves, tomato packet and red bell pepper (left whole) for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are charred and tender and the tomatoes are juicy.

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