While Ratatouille may be a useful way to cook down your over-grown summer’s vegetable garden, not everyone finds a pot of over cooked vegetables very appealing. So, why not try a new twist on an old dish? Tapas, or Appetizer Crostini with a dollop of Ratatouille, gently kissed with a smidge of goat cheese. Yum! These can be served:
- Cocktail time
- Tapas, along with a variety of other dishes (Tapas is also known as Mezze)
- Butler served appetizers at your next gathering or function
Let’s break this down into two easy steps.
Crostini – Baguettes can be store bought, but so much nicer if you make them. Easy recipe in our recipe collection: Bread
CROSTINI – is simply a long narrow crusty loaf of bread, sliced, and lightly toasted. Homemade baguette is best. Cut ¼ inch slices. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and brush (lightly) with olive oil. Lightly toast the slices in a 400 degree oven just until you see a little golden color form in the center of each slice. This can be done in advance and stored in an airtight container.
- Eggplant, 1 medium size, peeled, and cut into ½ inch cubes. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt (to de-bitter and soften) and set for 15 minutes. After set time, rinse well, squeeze out water, and set aside for when it is ready to be cooked. (can do ahead a few hours before)
- Fennel, bulb part chopped into ¼ inch size pieces. (Optional, but a lovely fresh alternative to the original zucchini)
- Shallot, 2 segments, chopped into ¼ inch pieces (a small onion can substitute)
- Artichoke, (frozen or jar) 1 cup chopped ½ inch pieces
- Carrot, 2 thin carrots cut into ¼ inch pieces
- Garlic, 3 cloves crushed
- Tomatoes, 2 large, or 3 small, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- Olives, ¼ cup, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
- Lemon zest, 2 teaspoons
- Lemon juice, 1 tablespoon
- Thyme, ½ teaspoon finely chopped
- Salt/pepper, to taste
In a pan, (as apposed to a pot, for even heat disbursement) add oil and prepped shallots. As soon as shallots begin to look transparent add eggplant, fennel, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Cook on medium/low heat, covered until they begin to soften. Uncover and add garlic, carrots, and lemon juice. Simmer a minute or two until carrots begin to soften but still remain firm. (we don’t want soggy vegetables)
Turn off stove, add tomatoes, olives. Lemon zest, and toss all ingredients to incorporate. Taste once again for salt and pepper. Let cool completely.
- Thyme, several fresh branches for garnish
- Chevre, 6 oz. softened goat cheese
- Milk, 1 Tablespoon
- Ziplock baggie, snack size for piping the cheese on top of the finished dish
Mix until creamy, cheese and milk. (In a bowl with a fork, or hand mixer, or a blender. What ever you have.) Place mixture in ziplock baggie. Zip it tight. Cut at a diagonal at one of the bottom points, a very small hole. About ¼ inch to ½ inch. This can sit out room temperature while you assemble the Ratatouille Crostini.
Place prepared crostini on a cookie sheet. Drain liquid from the prepared vegetable mixture. With a small (espresso size) spoon, place a little dollop of vegetable mixture on top of each crostini. Take the prepared baggie and give a small squeeze of softened cheese the kiss the top of each crostini. Finally, place one-two tiny thyme leaves right in the center of the cheese.
You are finished!
How lovely, impressive, and oh-so-yummy these are!