Veggie Bonanza: Oven-Roasted Ratatouille

Ratatouille about to head into the oven

Ratatouille about to head into the oven

While on a recent grocery trip, I noticed that the outdoor produce section of our favorite market was currently undergoing some major reorganization. Every stand was being cleared off, and at first I was sad that we wouldn’t have an opportunity to peruse what is usually a very diverse selection — that is, until I spotted an assemblage of shopping carts labeled “Bargain of the Day : $1.50 a bag” hiding out in a quiet alcove. What I discovered were weighty bags featuring a plethora of random fruits and/or veggies, and ignoring my auto-responsive dose of New Yorker cynicism  for a moment came to discover something more than sub-perfect specimens.

These 7+ lb-bags of assorted produce from a reliable market I shop at on a regular basis proved to be a steal at less than 20 cents per lb, and not being able to resist such a deal for raw ingredients that I don’t usually buy, I went ahead and stocked up on as many as I could carry home. We rationalized that not only would they contribute to our overall healthy cooking for the next few weeks, but also double as body conditioning as we lugged them home in addition to our already stuffed backpacks and messenger bags of groceries.

After arriving home, ripping into these culinary “grab bags” proved to be half the fun. We ended up with eggplants, zucchinis, tomatoes, colorful bell peppers, apples and oranges, and even more surprising, cantaloupe and cauliflower. We realized that it was going to be a fun week in recipe-planning. I was even more excited because it would give me an opportunity to really sell Sarah on the tastiness of eggplant, a veggie that she is less than keen on.

We discovered an Oven-Roasted version of Ratatouille over at Chocolate & Zucchini that sounded perfect for tackling the veggie marathon that we knew we would have this week.

A big pot of roasted ratatouille, steaming and ready to enjoy.

The recipe proved to be a delicious success! Before baking we threw in a huge sprig of fresh rosemary and seasoned further with salt, pepper and some Herbes de Provence (thyme being the dominant flavor). A heavenly aroma filled the apartment when it approached the end of its cooking time, and just as Clotilde described, the amount of liquid left in the baking dish after roasting was not overwhelming to the point of making the dish soggy, but more like a sauce to drizzle over our individual portions.

We paired this Ratatouille with pan-fried flounder fillets and rice pilaf that night, and it truly was a healthy but hearty meal. I can’t wait to enjoy these vegetable leftovers tomorrow!

One year ago:
Avocados, Guacamole

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