Ratatouille Spirals

Ratatouille Spirals
Feast on beautiful little rolls of eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, mozzarella and anchovy, all baked in a tangy, fresh tomato sauce, with a hint lavender, of course.
  • 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, scored with an “X” on the bottoms
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed culinary lavender
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups cubed country bread
  • 2½ pounds firm medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into ⅛-inch-thick strips
  • 2½ pounds small eggplant, preferably Japanese, cut lengthwise into ⅛-inch-thick strips
  • 3 roasted red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch strips
  • 18 oil-packed anchovies, cut into thin strips
  • ¾ pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 2-by- ½-inch sticks
  1. In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the tomatoes for 30 seconds; drain. Slip off the skins and halve the tomatoes crosswise. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, keeping the juices and seeds.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic, lavender and crushed pepper and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and juices and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, toss the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toast for about 15 minutes, stirring once, until golden.
  4. In 2 separate colanders, toss the zucchini and eggplant with 1 tablespoon of salt each and let drain for 15 minutes. Shake out the excess liquid and pat the slices dry.
  5. Spoon the tomato sauce into a shallow 2½-quart baking dish and scatter the bread cubes on top. On a work surface, top each zucchini slice with a slice of eggplant; blot dry if necessary. Place a strip of roasted pepper and anchovy and a stick of mozzarella at one end of each stack and roll up. Stand the rolls in the baking dish and brush with oil.
  6. Cover with parchment paper. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender and the ratatouille is bubbling; remove the parchment halfway through baking. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.


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