Perfumed with the region’s olive oil, wild thyme and garlic, ratatouille is the signature summer dish of Provence, where it is prepared when gardens are full of peppers, eggplant and zucchini. Here we layer the vegetables in a pretty baking dish or gratin for a ratatouille that's all dressed up for company.
- 4 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 tsp. chopped garlic
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) rounds
- 2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) rounds
- 2 summer squashes, sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) rounds
- 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) rounds
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a fry pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the oil. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Add another 1 Tbs. of the oil to the pan and return to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and lightly caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the onions evenly in the bottom of a 2-quart (2-l) baking dish or gratin dish.
Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer on paper towel–lined plates to absorb any excess liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Add the zucchini, squash and eggplant slices along with remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to the bowl with the garlic-thyme mixture. Toss until well combined and season with salt and pepper.
To build the gratin, arrange overlapping slices of squash, eggplant and tomato, as if they were shingles, in the baking dish.
Bake until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender, about 45 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen