A Taste of Travel looks at the ways food connects us with a culture and each other. Sharing the recipes and restaurants we have encountered along the way…
Ratatouille, a Provençal summer vegetable stew, showcases the bounty of summer and is a flexible, forgiving dish to make. I’ve taken a traditional recipe and changed it up for the stovetop or outdoor grill. Once the prep is out of the way, it comes together in a jiffy. Simply fill up hollowed-out zucchinis with a variety of chopped, grilled vegetables, then slow cook the boats in foil on the grill or in a stovetop pan. Top with cheese et voila!! Serve the Ratatouille Boats warm or cold. Leftovers can be added to pasta, as topping on baked potatoes, or folded into an omelette. Shawnie plans to include this recipe, which was made using a Calphalon grill pan and baked in the oven, in her upcoming book, The Woman’s Guide: France.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 6-8)
- 3 small zucchini (9-10”), halved and hollowed out, dice zucchini meat
- 1 small firm eggplant, diced (unpeeled and salted for 15-20 minutes to release water)
- 1 sweet onion, evenly diced
- 2 bell peppers: 1 each of green & red, orange or yellow
- 12 grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, for grilling and drizzle
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Herbs: fresh parsley, rosemary, thyme; chopped (or dried Herbes des Provence)
- Gruyere Cheese, grated for topping
Brush hollowed out zucchini boats with olive oil. Set aside.
Brush eggplant pieces with olive oil & sprinkle with kosher salt & pepper
Heat grill to medium (or use an unoiled grill pan over medium heat on stovetop)
Place zucchini boats on the grill, hollow side down for about 5 minutes – let it get nice char marks
Remove from heat and set aside
In a grill basket (or foil, or grill pan), layer eggplant, peppers, onion, and tomatoes,
Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add dried herbs now if using herbes de Provence
Place on grill over medium heat and grill for about 10 minutes. Flip the vegetables around a few times until they are cooked, but still firm. After about 5 minutes, throw in your fresh chopped herbs and stir to mix them in.
Do not over-cook as veggies will be put back on the grill after being stuffed into the boat.
Remove vegetable mixture from heat, and scoop even mix of veggies into each boat until it’s full, but not overflowing.
Top with grated Gruyere cheese and place back on the grill for another minute or two; until the cheese is melted.
**Note: Place foil under the boats if you feel they won’t be steady on the grill grates.
Remove from heat and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold. A crunchy bit of baguette and glass of rosé pairs well.
OPTIONAL INDOOR COOKING:
Grill the chopped vegetables in a grill pan on the stove top, stuff the zucchini boats and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Top with Gruyere in the last few minutes and turn on the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese.