There are certain recipes that are the little black dress of the kitchen. Timeless, elegant, simple – perfect for every occasion. We rely on them in much the same way we’d shimmy into that dress, looking fabulous and saying, “Oh this old thing?” Add a string of pearls – or a fried egg – and voila! Stir-fries, pastas, crostini, and panzanella: these are the dishes that can be tossed together with any seasonal vegetables you have on hand, accented with simple spices or flavorings from the pantry, and brought to the table in 30 minutes or less. Consider a panzanella – golden, olive oil-soaked, toasted croutons, tossed with vegetables and their juices. In high summer, it might be fresh, juicy tomatoes and big handfuls of fragrant basil leaves. Deep in winter, perhaps roasted sweet potatoes, beets, and caramelized onions. In spring, think finely chopped kale, leeks, and a squeeze of tart citrus. For fall, we love the carefree flavors of still-warm days, made a little silky and luxurious from some time in the oven as a nod to the changing season. The crunch of baguette croutons offers a contrast to the decadence of burst tomatoes, roasted garlic, and caramelized vegetables. A dollop of rich, tangy yogurt is the perfect accessory. Keep this recipe handy–it’s one you’ll want to slip into time and again, all year long.
Roasted Ratatouille Panzanella
3 small eggplant, cut in 2″ chunks
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 small sweet peppers, cut in 2″ chunks
1 small red onion, slivered
6 cloves garlic, smashed but not peeled
1 large zucchini or other summer squash, cut into 2″ chunks
1/4 c olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 recipe baguette croutons (recipe follows)
fried egg or plain yogurt for serving
a few fresh basil leaves for serving
Preheat oven to 400. Place eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, and zucchini on a baking sheet. Pour olive oil over all and toss thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Place baguette croutons in a large bowl. When vegetables are ready, scrape them into the bowl with the croutons, along with any accumulated pan juices. Toss gently and place in serving bowls. Top with a runny fried egg or a dollop of yogurt and serve.
1/2 baguette, cut into 2″ pieces
2 Tbs olive oil
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400. Place croutons in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.