Grilled Ratatouille Salad

Grilled Ratatouille

Grilled Salad?  You bet. This version of ratatouille is perfect in the summer when the season is lobbing a kaleidescope of Provençal vegetables our way. Instead of simmering eggplant, squash, onions and peppers with tomatoes on the stove in the traditional Niçoise fashion, try grilling all of them on the barbeque.  Bright, colorful, and pleasantly charred, this salad is a healthy, summery side dish or salad.  Serve as an accompaniment to grilled meats and fish or as a smoky, crunchy stand-alone salad with crusty pain paysan. Alternatively, head further south in the Mediterranean for inspiration: Add feta cheese and kalamata olives to the grilled vegetables for a twist on Greek salad.

Grilled Ratatouille Salad
Serves 6 as a side dish

2-3 bamboo skewers

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large, firm eggplant/aubergine, cut horizontally in 1/2″ thick slices
2 large red onions, cut horizontally in 1/2″ thick slices
2 thin zucchini/courgettes, halved lengthwise
2 thin yellow squash, halved lengthwise
2 red peppers, halved, seeded, stems removed
1 poblano pepper, halved, seeded, stem removed

Extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves minced
1 small bunch Italian parsley leaves, stems removed, chopped
1 small bunch basil leaves, ripped in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak skewers 30 minutes before grilling.  Preheat grill or oven. Thread tomatoes on skewers.  Arrange all the vegetables and tomato skewers on a large baking sheet.  Lightly drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat thoroughly.  Sprinkle with salt.  Grill vegetables on barbeque until nicely browned and just cooked through. (Or grill in one layer in oven, turning once.)

Allow vegetables to cool slightly. Remove tomatoes from skewers and place in large bowl. Cut eggplant, onions, zucchini, squash and peppers in 1″ pieces. Add to bowl with tomatoes.  Toss vegetables with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with extra parsley and basil leaves.

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