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Garden Vegetable Ratatouille

Our estate garden-inspired ratatouille changes weekly throughout our productive summer, showcasing each vegetable at its seasonal zenith. The peas and cherry tomatoes of early summer transition into the large heirloom tomato varietals, late corn and squash blossoms. The classic mélange of Mediterranean and new world ingredients (tomatoes, squash, onions, garlic and eggplant) always form the base; the last minute additions of quickly blanched and raw ingredients bring the dish into the moment. Served hot or cold, this healthy ratatouille base is always best if made the day prior to serving.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 5 cups Japanese eggplant, diced

  • 1 fennel bulb, diced

  • 2 yellow onions, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1 zucchini or summer squash, diced

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 cups roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

  • 1 cup "toy box" or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar

  • ½ cup basil and blossoms (if bolting), thinly sliced

  • Sea salt to taste

  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

  • Fresh garnishes from your garden or farmers market, for garnish (suggestions include peas, pea shoots, favas, corn or bronze fennel)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 5 cups Japanese eggplant, diced

  • 1 fennel bulb, diced

  • 2 yellow onions, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1 zucchini or summer squash, diced

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 cups roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

  • 1 cup "toy box" or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar

  • ½ cup basil and blossoms (if bolting), thinly sliced

  • Sea salt to taste

  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

  • Fresh garnishes from your garden or farmers market, for garnish (suggestions include peas, pea shoots, favas, corn or bronze fennel)

Instructions

serves 6-8

In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, bring 3 Tbsp of olive oil to nearly smoking. Add the eggplant while stirring to prevent sticking and scorching. Continue cooking until the eggplant is golden brown. Remove from the pot and allow to drain on paper towels; season immediately with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Return the same pot to medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add fennel bulb, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, bay leaf and tomato paste. Sauté two minutes, then add garlic and tomatoes. Lower heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.

Add the sherry vinegar and fold in the reserved eggplant. Continue cooking for 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the ratatouille to cool to room temperature. Remove the bay leaf. Fold in the remaining 3 Tbsp of olive oil and basil, then season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until the next day.

Two hours prior to serving, remove the ratatouille from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Divide the ratatouille evenly between plates, then finish with the garnishes you have selected from the garden or local farmers market. These can be freshly diced, lightly pickled, quickly blanched or even grilled and refreshed in ice water. Chef Knoll’s favorites include peas or favas in the spring and corn or bronze fennel in the summer.

For an entrée, we pair the ratatouille with Sonoma Black Angus strip steak grilled to 133* at center (approximately 6 minutes per side for a 1½ pound New York over high heat). Allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes prior to slicing (grilled lamb works equally well with our cabernets). Proteins may be prepared the day before. Simply cool quickly and then prior to serving, allow the meat to warm slightly on the cutting board. Slice the beef or lamb and serve over ratatouille with cooked quinoa. Garnish with fresh basil blossoms or new leaves, peas, pea shoots and fleur de sel.

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