Warning: This Ratatouille Bruschetta is very addictive. We couldn’t stop eating this after taking our photos and stuffed ourselves silly.
2 pounds eggplant
2 pounds zucchini
1 ½ pounds vine ripe garden tomatoes (or the best ripe tomatoes you can find)
1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large red onion, (¾ pound)
4 large garlic cloves (2 tablespoons) minced
2 pounds mixed bell peppers (red, orange and yellow) about one each, diced into one-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, about four sprigs removed from stems
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Zest from half a lemon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
20 large basil leaves
1 loaf Italian bread or French baguette, sliced
1 large garlic clove to rub on the grilled or toasted bread
Grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over each Bruschetta
Lay out three sheet pans with racks placed in each.
Peel and slice the eggplant into one-inch thick slices. Lay out on one of the sheet pans.
Do not peel the zucchini but slice as you did for the eggplant.
Dice all tomatoes into large one-inch dice and lay out on the third sheet pan.
Use one tablespoon of salt for each sheet pan. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant and zucchini.
Sprinkle the last tablespoon over the tomatoes.
Let all three pans sit for two hours turning every 30 minutes in a stacked formation as shown with tomatoes on top to press out additional liquid.
Go read a book or watch Ratatouille on DVD. 🙂
After two hours, rinse salt from eggplant and zucchini and dry with paper towels and set aside.
Transfer the tomatoes to a strainer over a bowl to collect more water until you are ready to use. No need to rinse off salt.
Discard all liquid collected from the three vegetables.
OK, the hard part is over. From here it is pretty simple.
Take the now dried eggplant and dice into one-inch cubes.
Do the same for the zucchini.
In a very large skillet or sauté pan (ours was 12” across and 3” deep), heat two tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat until just shy of smoking.
Add half the eggplant and sauté for 6-8 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove to a large bowl and add two more tablespoons of the oil. Once hot, add the second half of the eggplant and once cooked, remove to the same bowl.
Add two more tablespoons of oil and add half the zucchini and cook for about four minutes until browned.
Remove to the same bowl as the eggplant and add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan.
Cook the second half of the zucchini and add to the bowl.
Add two more tablespoons of the oil and once hot, add all of the bell peppers.
Cook for eight minutes stirring around with a wooden spoon. Remove to the same bowl as the other vegetables.
Add two more tablespoons of the oil and reduce the heat to medium high.
Once hot, add the red onions and sauté for five minutes then add the garlic.
Cook for one more minute then add the drained tomatoes along with the fresh thyme, salt, pepper and lemon zest and cook over medium high for five minutes.
Add tomato paste, balsamic vinegar and the entire bowl of the cooked vegetables.
Gently stir, cover and cook over medium low for 20 minutes. Occasionally stir gently to make sure it doesn’t stick.
After 20 minutes, remove lid and remove from heat.
Stack the 20 basil leaves and with a knife, slice into thin ribbons and add to the mixture.
Slice the bread and oil both sides then broil or grill and rub with a little raw garlic.
To serve, top each grilled bread slice with a few spoons of the ratatouille, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and finish with some grated Parmesan cheese.