I bought a bag of Japanese eggplant at the farmer's market and needed a good way to use them up. I found Tyler's recipe for Ratatouille with Feta, Green Olives and Almonds at the Food Network site (here), and loved the idea of taking the ratatouille and topping it with feta, olives, basil and chopped toasted almonds. Since Tyler is always so good at combining different flavors, I knew it would be good. Although ratatouille is often served as a side dish, this is a great healthy and hearty vegetarian meal, especially with some good multi-grain bread to soak up all the flavorful juices.
Ratatouille with Feta, Green Olives, and Almonds
(Makes 6-8 Servings)
Prep Time 20 min. / Cook Time 40 min.
1 cup whole almonds
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup pitted green olives
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves hand-torn
1 medium onion, chopped
5 medium Japanese eggplant, chopped
3 medium zucchini, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand crushed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Put the almonds into a large skillet over medium heat. Gently toast the nuts, being careful not to let them burn, for about 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, 1 chopped garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 3 minutes and transfer to a plate to cool. Crush the almonds roughly and put them into a bowl along with the feta cheese, olives, and 1/3 of the basil leaves. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
Put 3 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes into the skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, remaining garlic, and 1/3 of the basil leaves and cook until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Put in the eggplant and cook until it is soft, about 10 minutes, adding more olive oil if necessary. Add the zucchini, fresh tomatoes, and capers; season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until these vegetables are soft but still whole. Add the canned tomatoes, vinegar, and remaining basil leaves. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes; remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
To serve, put the ratatouille into a bowl or platter and top with the feta, olive, and almond mixture.
Notes/Results: Delicious with a nice spicy kick. The ratatouille itself is good and when you top it with the feta-almond mixture, it takes it to another level. The recipe goes together easily, it just takes some time to simmer. I didn't drain my canned tomatoes (since it was a can of San Marzano tomatoes and I didn't want to waste any of it), so I ended up with a bit more liquid than was probably intended. I liked it that way though, all the better to dunk my bread in it. This ratatouille is chunky, very filling, and a great meal. It is a keeper recipe for me.
This is my 300th post and since I just had my one year Blogoversary a couple of weeks ago, it seems like a good time to celebrate and give away some free "foodie stuff". So for the next three Saturdays, I am going to be giving away something fun and foodie-like in three random drawings.
Come back tomorrow to see the first prize and get the details of how to enter the drawing. It's just a little way to say mahalo (or thank you) for all the friendship, fun and support that I get from all of you.