Ratatouille With Capers, Chives & Aged Balsamic Vinegar

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Ratatouille With Capers, Chives & Aged Balsamic Vinegar

During the hot summer months ratatouille is one of the most popular dishes in the south of France. The recipe and presentation vary with each preparation but all are based on the classical foundation of slightly sautéed summer vegetables with that unmistakably delicious zest and velvety texture for which this dish is known. Zucchinis, eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers are the key vegetables in this unpretentious summer treat. It can be served hot, cold or at room temperature; its versatility works with any occasion. The presentation for our Provence Dinner was somewhat elegant – I used individual molds to shape each serving of this delectable concoction of sautéed vegetables. To add a briny bite, garnish it with few capers on top and two strings of chives. Drizzled with the viscous and sweet aged balsamic vinegar, this dish is a mouth melting delight. Serve it along with toasted baguette slices and black olive tapenade, another Provence staple and the success guaranteed. Our guests could not get enough!

To roast bell peppers: Preheat your broiler with the rack positioned on the very top of the oven. Place the bell peppers on the roasting sheet; roast the peppers for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the peppers, turning occasionally with the tongs to make all sides equally charred.

Once charred, transfer peppers into a bowl and cover with the plastic wrap, foil or a plate. The steam will help to release the skin easily in 10-15 minutes.

Peel the skin.

Chop the bell peppers finely. Set aside.

To blanched tomatoes: Using a sharp knife, cut an “X” on the bottom of each tomato, it will help to loosen the skin.

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Place them in rapidly boiling water for 1 minute, then plunge the tomatoes into an ice bath.

Let them cool slightly, peel the skin off.

Deseed the tomatoes and finely chop the flesh.

Finely chop the onion.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or non-stick pan on a medium heat, add the onions and soften them for 3 minutes without letting them color. Transfer to a bowl.

Finely dice zucchinis.

Add oil to the same pan and sauté diced zucchinis for 3-4 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a bowl.

Slice the eggplant thinly lengthwise and into strips.

Finely dice the eggplant.

Add more oil and sauté eggplant for 4-5 minutes until softened, season with salt and pepper. If the pan gets dry, add a little bit of water instead of oil because the eggplant will absorb it all. Transfer to a bowl.

To make ratatouille: Combine sautéed vegetables, roasted bell peppers, chopped tomatoes and garlic in the pan.

Add thyme and oregano. Cook uncovered over low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Adjust the seasoning and let ratatouille to cool slightly or refrigerate overnight for the flavors to really blend.

To serve, if using the individual molds, place the cutting edge down on the plate and fill it in tightly with ratatouille mixture. Drizzle a thin circle of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar around the dish and sprinkle with micro-greens. Lift up the mold carefully and garnish ratatouille with few capers on top or scatter as many as you want around the dish. Place two chive sprigs on a side.

Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Ratatouille With Capers, Chives & Aged Balsamic Vinegar

recipe details

Serves 6-8 

Ingredients

For the ratatouille

  • 4 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green)
  • 6 vine tomatoes
  • 1 large or 2 medium eggplants, finely diced
  • 3 medium zucchinis, finely diced
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 5 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To garnish

  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Capers
  • Chives
  • Microgreens

Equipment (optional)

  • Stainless steel round cutters with plain 2,5 inches in diameter

Directions

  1. To roast bell peppers: Preheat your broiler with the rack positioned on the very top of the oven. Place the bell peppers on the roasting sheet; roast the peppers for 20 to 25 minutes depending on their size, turning occasionally with the tongs to make all sides equally charred. Once charred, transfer peppers into a bowl and cover with the plastic wrap, foil or a plate. The steam will help to release the skin easily in 10-15 minutes. Peel the skin and chop the bell peppers finely. Set aside.
  2. To blanched tomatoes: Using a sharp knife, cut an “X” on the bottom of each tomato, it will help to loosen the skin. Place them in rapidly boiling water for 1 minute, then plunge the tomatoes into an ice bath. Let them cool slightly, peel the skin off. Deseed and chop the flesh finely.
  3. To sauté vegetables: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or non-stick pan on a medium heat, add the onions and soften them for 3 minutes without letting them color. Transfer to a bowl. Add oil to the same pan and sauté diced zucchini for 3-4 minutes, season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl. Add more oil and sauté eggplant for 4-5 minutes until softened, season with salt and pepper. If the pan gets dry, add a little bit of water instead of oil because the eggplant will absorb it all. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. To make ratatouille: Combine sautéed vegetables, roasted bell peppers, chopped tomatoes and garlic in the pan. Add thyme and oregano. Cook uncovered over low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Adjust the seasoning and let ratatouille to cool slightly or refrigerate overnight for the flavors to really blend.
  5. To serve, if using the individual molds, place the cutting edge down on the plate and fill it in tightly with ratatouille mixture. Drizzle a thin circle of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar around the dish and sprinkle with micro-greens. Lift up the mold carefully and garnish ratatouille with few capers on top or scatter as many as you want around the dish. Place two chive sprigs on a side.

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