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 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
Yield: 8 servings
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.
Place the red pepper in a brown paper bag and crimp the top closed. Set aside.
Dice the eggplant, onion and zucchini and place in a large bowl. When the pepper cools slightly, rub the charred skin away. Cut the pepper into strips, discarding the core, and add to the other vegetables. Pour the tomatoes and their juices over the other vegetables and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.