Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ratatouille Napoleon

I didn't just put two crazy words together to get your attention, I swear. Honestly, this has become one of my favorite things to make. I think it would be great for a party since you can prepare everything ahead of time and then just stack it on the plates. With the salty kick of the olive tapenade and the deep flavor of the roasted vegetables, you get immense complexity. The balsamic reduction pulls it all together and turns up the volume of the whole dish.

The nicest thing about this recipe is that you can take any of the components on their own (ratatouille, the balsamic reduction, the kalamata tapenade) and use them in another dish. For instance, the tapenade would be great on a cheese plate, and the balsamic reduction would be perfect on a caprese salad. But first, try it like this; I know you'll love it.

Ratatouille Napoleon

1 medium-sized eggplant (diced)
1 white onion (diced)
1 green pepper (peeled, diced)
1 red pepper (peeled, diced)
10 oz. mushrooms (diced)
balsamic vinegar
oilve oil
sea salt
cracked pepper
phyllo dough (8 large sheets)

Spread ingredients onto a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 400 degrees for 15-25 minutes or until the vegetables start to caramelize on the edges. Remove and allow the vegetables to cool.

Stack the sheets of phyllo pastry drizzling a tiny bit olive oil between every other sheet. Using a pizza cutter, slice puff pastry into 2"x2" squares. Using an ice cream scoop, transfer the ratatouille to half of the phyllo squares. Bake squares in a 400 degree oven on a rimmed baking sheet for 25 minutes.

Balsamic reduction:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
black pepper
3 sprigs of thyme

Reduce mixture over medium heat until thick and syrupy.

Olive tapenade:
1 shallot (minced)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 sprig fresh oregano
olive oil
1 cup kalamata olives (pitted)

Over medium-high heat, sauté shallot, garlic, and oregano in olive oil until soft and cooked through. This should take just a few minutes. In a food processor, blend the olives with the garlic mixture until smooth.

To serve, place a spoonful of your favorite soft cheese (ricotta or goat cheese) in the center of the plate, stack a phyllo dough that has been slathered in tapenade on top of the cheese, and finish the stack the ratatouille and phyllo. Finally, drizzle the reduction over the whole thing.

*Apothic Red was a really good match for these strong flavors.