Ratatouille is a traditional French dish of stewed vegetables. To many that doesn’t really sound all that appealing, my husband included. The fact that he loathes eggplant is a large factor, but he gobbled this up. Proof you should always try things, because you just never know. I loved this flavor combination. The warm, rich, heartiness of a winter dish, but lightened up for spring by transforming it into quiche filling. It’s really good and it uses one of my favorite spice blends – Herbs de Provence. If you’ve never tried it, well you should! It makes an amazing rub for roast chicken, it’s great in eggs, and of course soups and stews.
This is a great vegetarian dish that won’t leave you asking, where’s the beef? Savory, sweet vegetables enrobed in creamy flavorful eggs atop a divine buttery crust. Yes, no one will notice the lack of meat…. So without further ado, a meal for meatless (or as some say moo-less) Monday:
- 1 small eggplant, or 1 cup
we used Chinese variety
- 1 zucchini, or 1 cup
- 1 yellow squash, or 1 cup
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 2 small yellow onions
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup swiss cheese, shredded
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup crema or creme fraiche
can substitute full-fat sour cream
- 1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence
- salt & pepper to taste
I used about 1/2 teaspoon of each because I salt & pepper
my vegetables while cooking
- 1 pie crust
we use Thomas Keller’s All-Butter Crust recipe which can be found HERE
Prepare Pie Crust if necessary:
If making the All-Butter Crust listed above: It has to be made in advance at least one hour (time to chill) and it bakes best if you freeze the rolled pie shell
for 20 minutes before baking. Just a time needed heads up. You can use any shell, but this one IS SO GOOD and worth the effort!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and remove pie dough or prepared shell from fridge or freezer.
Slice onions and combine them in a large skillet with 2 Tablespoons of butter and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Season with salt and pepper and set over medium heat. Once butter begins to melt toss onions to coat and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
While your onions are cooking and your oven is preheating:
Prepare 1 or 2 large cookie sheets by coating with foil and non-stick cooking spray. Slice or dice your remaining vegetables: squash, zucchini, eggplant, red bell pepper, and tomatoes. I like to slice mine so they can roast evenly in the oven, but diced works great too. ***As you slice especially the eggplant and red bell pepper transfer to paper towels to absorb moisture. The eggplant will need to be salted lightly on both sides to help draw the moisture out. Arrange vegetables on prepared sheets, brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, rotating once half way through for even cooking. Set aside to cool.
*Tip: you can also dice your vegetables and sauté them on the stove-top in some olive oil – cutting out the need for oven in the part of prep.
Lower you oven temperature to 350 degrees and prepare your pie shell for blind-baking if necessary. This time also allows your vegetables to cool before combining. If using the TK Quiche Shell recipe: blind bake your shell at 350 with a parchment lining filled with dry beans or pie weights for 25 to 30 minutes. (these instructions are also included in the link) or follow your pie crust instructions.
**Tip from my Mema’s kitchen: Roll your pie crust out in between wax paper. You can’t over-flour and make a tough crust this way and if you are working with chilled (or lard) dough it peels off like a dream. This means easy to transfer to your pie plate and you throw the entire mess away. Tried and true.
While your crust is pre-baking make the egg custard:
In a blender (or large bowl with hand mixer/food processor) combine eggs, crema, heavy cream, Herbs de Provence, and salt and pepper; turn on high and let blend for about 2 to 3 minutes. Until whipped and mixture will be foamy or bubbly on top. Set aside for assembly.
Combine onions, cheese, and vegetables into the pie crust. Cover with egg custard mixture. Return to oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes (for a deep dish pie shell); if you are using a regular tart or pie dish I would start checking around 25 minutes and if you use a spring form or larger dish it may take longer. Once custard is set in middle and top is lightly browned remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
Swoon, eat; repeat,