Ratatouille Gratin

~ Ratatouille Gratin ~

It’s that time of year when the vegetables sneak up on you. A month ago, summer squash were elusive, appearing in the markets in small groups at a price. In the garden they were merely a hint of themselves peeking from their flowers. Purchases felt premature, tasting a little bitter, and costing too much for something you knew would soon be prolific.

Then, before you know it, a month has passed and squash are teeming everywhere. The garden is lobbing them to you like tennis balls, the market shelves are stacked with zucchini, crooknecks, and patty pans, ripe and ready for consumption. With the bounty, it’s time to get creative, because, ironically, it’s easy to tire of this abundance, and that is a shame.  So, yesterday I was determined to use my imagination to celebrate summer squash. Instead of a traditional ratatouille, I made a gratin. And before I made the gratin, I played a little bit with my food and made Ratatouille Stacks.

~ Ratatouille Stacks ~

The ingredients are identical, only the arrangement is different. Serve the gratins as side dishes or a light vegetarian meal. The stacks are fun appetizers.

Ratatouille Gratin

Be sure that the squash and eggplant have similar diameters. Makes 4 individual or 1 large gratin.

2 narrow Italian eggplant
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red peppers, roasted, seeded, skinned (or 1 jar piquillo roasted peppers, drained)
1 bunch basil leaves
6 ounces soft, fresh goat cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F. Slice eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash 1/4 inch thick. Arrange in one layer on an oiled baking tray. Brush the tops with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil briefly until the vegetables begin to brown. Remove and cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Cut the peppers in pieces no larger than the sliced vegetables and set aside.  Place an eggplant slice on the work surface. Smear a pea-sized amount of goat cheese in the center of the eggplant. Top with a squash slice. Smear with the goat cheese and top with a red pepper piece. Smear with goat cheese and top with a basil leaf. Repeat process, alternating with squash, eggplant, red pepper and basil leaves, always adhering with a pea-sized amount of goat cheese. (If forming stacks, top with a basil leaf and a little goat cheese, then impale with a toothpick).
If making a gratin, carefully transfer stacks to an oiled gratin dish and slightly fan out the layers. Repeat until gratin dish is full. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese. Bake gratin in the oven until heated through and cheese begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

30 responses to “Ratatouille Gratin

  1. I was just thinking about this as I made my farmers’ market rounds over the weekend. Looks great!

  2. Like mini tians – think how pretty on a plate for a summer dinner party!

  3. This is just so artful. I love the pictures. And it’s even better because I know the food tastes as good as it looks.

  4. How beautiful is this recipe. It is summer at it’s best. Love it.

  5. Beautiful, simple, elegant AND healthy! Three cheers. I’m all over this one…

  6. I love a woman who plays with her food. Pretty much anything can be made better by making it into a gratin, don’t you agree? Gorgeous colors and I can only imagine how flavorful this dish was. – S

  7. I love the colors and the presentation of this dish! Looks so fancy and appetizing 🙂

  8. These look so fresh and delicious! – I love the ratatouille stacks and the little mounds of goat cheese atop the basil.

  9. What a beautiful post. I love how you matched up the size of the eggplants and squash to get them so pretty. What a wonderful use for seasonal ingredients.

  10. So colorful and appetizing-absolutely love veggies this way with herbs and olibe oil- bliss!

  11. Simply gorgeous! I’d be snapping pictures of this colorful dish too! Layers of goat cheese and veggies, I’m loving every thought of this dish!

  12. I have never seen ratatouille done this way before! It looks so much more appetizing to me – in fact, down right delicious!!!! The presentation is beautiful!

  13. Gorgeous!! I love the ratatouille stacks–great idea, especially the touch of basil on top. 🙂

  14. I just loved this:

    The garden is lobbing them to you like tennis balls.

    It sure seems to start feeling that way doesn’t it? Beautiful dish…and always appreciate of one more recipe for the abundance!

  15. Mmm, looks beautiful 😀 Can’t wait to try this when my zucchini are going crazy.

  16. Simple and beautiful. Probably tasty too! Would love it if you would share on my Seasonal Potluck page. One of July’s featured ingredients is zucchini! http://wp.me/p1vvGp-aH

  17. The color .. the presentation makes it look so appetizing and fancy!

  18. I love the ratatouille stacks!

  19. Lynda, I love your understated humor. And am in complete agreement that it’s a shame to lose interest in the super-abundant summer squashes. Love this variation!

  20. Wonderful, enticing photographs! you’re right, everything is so tasty these days my only problem is not overbuying because I would hate to waste anything!

  21. This is a great idea, and I love the small stack option! I will definitely be serving this in the near future 🙂

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  23. I just made this and loooved it! I couldn’t handle the basil, so I left it out, but other than that it was amazing. Thanks!

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  26. Cheryl Ramos

    Came across this under your “if you like this….”. I was looking for a non traditional way to use all the wonderful seasnal vegies at the farmer’s market and saw your pin. Stunning! Thank you so much for sharing.

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