Ratatouille with Garlic Croutons

Featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on September 19, 2018.

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Ingredients:

Ratatouille with Garlic Croutons

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, 2 cloves finely chopped, 2 thinly sliced, divided
  • 8 (1-inch-thick) round slices baguette
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmigiana cheese, divided
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 4 1/2 cups 1/2-inch diced eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups zucchini, 1/2-inch diced
  • 2 medium onion, 1/2-inch diced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions:

Heat oven to 375°F.

In a small pot over low heat, melt butter. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Let garlic cook for 2 minutes. In a medium bowl add bread, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/4 cup Parmigiana cheese. Drizzle the garlic butter over bread mixture and arrange bread on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and evenly brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Salt the eggplant and drain it in a colander for 30 minutes to remove the bitterness.

Meanwhile, blacken the skins of red peppers over open flame on the stove or under a hot broiler. Leave oven ajar to allow steam to escape. Put blackened peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel, seed and dice the peppers.

While peppers cool, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Add eggplant, zucchini, remaining sliced garlic, onions, rosemary and remaining 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stewed tomatoes to pot. Stir in red peppers and 1/2 tomato-can of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes to concentrate the flavors.

Scoop ratatouille into shallow bowls and top with croutons, torn basil and remainder parmigiana cheese. Serves 4.

Approximate Nutrient Analysis per serving (not including salt for eggplant):
560 calories, 22 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 1200 mg sodium, 790 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 17 g protein

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