Sheet Pan Meal: Ratatouille with Feta, Almonds and Breadcrumbs
By Evan Kleiman
Think of this as a mixed grill of late-summer veggies but in the oven. So you have more opportunity to create tenderness and not just char on the grill. There are a lot of vegetables here so you’ll need to use an 18 by 13-inch half sheet pan.
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
2 light green Mexican zucchini, stem and blossom end trimmed
1 large red onion, peeled and cut in half vertically
1 firm large red bell pepper
1 basket of larger red cherry tomatoes, stems removed and cut in half
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
5 large basil leaves
3 ounces French or Bulgarian feta cheese
½ cup roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
Handful of croutons, smashed
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
The eggplant will take the longest to cook so cut it small. I like it in a ½ inch dice here. Pre-salting the eggplant will help the finished texture. Toss it with salt and let it stand in a colander while you prep the remaining ingredients. Then rinse eggplant and pat dry.
Trim both ends of the zucchini then cut the zucchini in half vertically, then into crosswise half-moons about ¼” thick. Put the cut zucchini into a bowl large enough to accommodate all the vegetables.
Lay the halved onion cut side down on your cutting surface and cut vertical thin slices. Add them to the zucchini. Cut the sides off the red bell peppers then thinly slice them. Slice the bottom piece too. Add it all to the onion and zucchini. Add the tomatoes to the bowl.
Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well so that everything has a slick of oil.
Line the sheet pan with parchment paper. Lay the vegetables onto the baking sheet as evenly as you can. Roast the vegetables until they begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and mix and turn them with a metal spatula. Return pan to the oven and continue roasting until they are tender and have deep flecks of brown, about 15 minutes more.
Remove from the pan and toss with the torn basil. Taste again for salt and pepper and give another glug of olive oil if you want. Serve on a platter topped with the crumbled feta and almonds and smashed croutons.
Yield: 3-4 portions as a side dish.