Ultimate Ratatouille with Grilled Bread
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- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus more for toasting the bread
- 1 green onion, diced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, plus 1 clove for the bread
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes*
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more to garnish
- 1 sprig tarragon, plus more to garnish
- 1 loaf crusty bread
- aged cheese, shredded, to top (optional)
- coarse kosher salt, to taste
*When tomatoes are in season, substitute with 2 pounds of vine-ripened tomatoes.
- Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot, or dutch oven, over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- When the oil is shimmering, add in the eggplant and let cook until caramelized, about 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium and add the zucchini. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, until softened and caramelized.
- To the browned eggplant, add the onions, fennel, and garlic. Season with salt and cook for 5 minutes, until onions begin to soften and turn translucent.
- To the cooked zucchini, add in the bell peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then add the zucchini and bell peppers into the dutch oven with the eggplant mixture.
- Add the canned crushed tomatoes to a large bowl. Using your hands, gently crush the tomatoes until they create the appearance of a “chunky” tomato sauce.
- To the dutch oven, add in the tomatoes and gently stir with the vegetables to combine.
- Cook for about a minute and when the mixture starts to bubble, stir in the honey, bay leaf, thyme and tarragon.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 - 20 or until the vegetables are tender.
- While the ratatouille is cooking, place a grill pan over medium heat.
- Slice the bread into 1 inch thick slices then drizzle with olive oil. Place on the grill pan and cook for 2 minutes per side.
- Remove the bread to a cutting board and cut the garlic clove in half. Rub the garlic on the toasted bread slices and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Serve the ratatouille garnished with chopped herbs, a sprinkle of aged cheese, and alongside plenty of garlicky grilled bread!