Ratatouille is a humble peasant dish that, once cooked, can be enlisted as a reliable base for a multitude of different dishes. I passed on a tub of home-made ratatouille to a neighbor who used it neat as a side for roast chicken and also converted into a healthy topping for a pasta entrée.
What I love about ratatouille is that you can sneak in stacks of nutritious veggies which, if chopped finely enough, will slip under your kids’ radar; they won’t suss out that they are eating the garden greenhouse.
To make your ratatouille a little more upmarket , try adding a crumb and cheese topping and voila you have a ratatouille gratin.
I used to lean on Panko breadcrumbs for my gratin topping, but since learning my daughter needs to avoid wheat-based products, I’ve been on the hunt for an alternative.
Rice breadcrumbs are just as good – save for the texture. And I found you can get around the breadcrumbs over fine texture by adding in parmesan shavings to coarsen the texture of the rice breadcrumbs.
I tend to keep a ready-made Ziploc bag of my gratin mixture (comprising 1 cup of breadcrumbs: 1 cup of mixed shredded cheese; 2x tbsps of shaved parmesan) at all times in the fridge. It’s then ready to sprinkle on chicken escalopes, mac n cheese, or vegetables, whenever.
Ratatouille Gratin for 4
1 medium eggplant, sliced and then sliced again into semi-circles
1 x yellow courgette, sliced
1x green courgette, sliced
1 huge beefsteak tomato, chopped
1 x yellow onion, finely diced
1 x large tin of fire-roasted diced plum tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
10 button mushrooms quartered
oil for frying and ¼ stick of butter
1 tbsp of tomato paste
salt and pepper
- Coat baking tray liberally with olive oil, place chopped eggplant slices on baking tray, set aside for 5 minutes. Flip eggplants so that the other side is now face down, top up oil in the tray if necessary. Bake for 20 minutes on 350. Flip eggplant slices half way through cooking. Add more oil if necessary.
- Heat butter and oil in frypan, add onions and garlic. Sweat down until the onion is transparent.
- Add courgettes and fry until they begin to soften and brown
- Add beefsteak tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes
- Add chopped mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes
- Add tomato paste and plum tomatoes
- Simmer mixture for 20 minutes
- Transfer to oven proof dish and sprinkle liberally with gratin mixture
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350.