dishedzucceggplant

Bacon-infused Summer Ratatouille!

I love ratatouille!  It is a dish that can be used for everything from sandwiches to top sausages and other meats to filling an omelette and so on.  The version I’ve made here is my summery, chunkier version whereas my winter ratatouille is much more labor intensive with many more ingredients…but worth the effort, for sure.

But, since it’s summer and zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant are fabulous this time of year we’re going with my simpler version.  For this recipe I used my favorite kind of eggplant, “Japanese” because it is small, thin-skinned, tasty and most tender!

Zucchini and Japanese Eggplant!

Zucchini and Japanese Eggplant!

But, before we go any further we must talk about what inspired this “ratatouille” recipe…bacon!  So I was in the mood for a BLT and finished cooking the bacon and thought surely there is some veggie or two I have that I can just toss in this delicious bacon fat and call it a side to my BLT!  Turn around and there’s my answer…see above.

Quarter the zucchini & eggplant length-wise then cut across in 1 inch pieces

Quarter the zucchini & eggplant length-wise then cut across in 1 inch pieces

Back to the bacon!  My favorite way to cook bacon is to bake it on parchment paper all laid out in a single layer at 350ºF for about 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon.  Of course you have to turn it over about half way through, or more if you feel it’s necessary.  But, I guarantee you this makes delicious and crunchy bacon every time without the mess it makes on your stove top and without you having to babysit it.

roastingpanbacon

 

Be sure to get some of that bacon fat on all the veggies!

Be sure to get some of that bacon fat on all the veggies!

Then, once you move that bacon to the paper towel lined plate to drain and cool you’ll look back at the baking pan and think, “I need to do something with all that good bacon fat!”  Or you pour it off in a jar and use it for later.  Back in the day folk used to call it “grease” and would keep it in an old Campbell’s soup can to the side of the stove ready to use for gravy, cornbread or any other southern food that would bring comfort.

Roasted and ready to add the fresh tomatoes!

Roasted and ready to add the fresh tomatoes!

Gotta add a little fresh-grated parmesan!

Gotta add a little fresh-grated parmesan!

So, bake some bacon and print off the recipe down below and make this delicious summer ratatouille and add your own little something to it!

A few final notes:  If you don’t want to make a BLT then just crumble the bacon over your roasted veggies before serving.

And, if you don’t want to use bacon fat then toss your veggies with extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil.

Tell me about your fave way to cook eggplant!

Bacon-Infused Summer Ratatouille!
Author: 
Recipe Type: Vegetable Side
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ratatouille is great on just about everything but dessert! Try adding it to your omelettes, grilled meats and seafood or just serve it as a side. And, it's oh so satisfying roasted in bacon fat! This recipe doesn't account for the weight of the veggies...just "eyeball" it and adjust your seasoning accordingly!
Ingredients
  • 10 pieces thick-cut bacon or ¼ cup melted coconut oil if you're a vegetarian
  • Japanese Eggplant, chopped into 1" pieces
  • Zucchini, chopped into 1" pieces
  • Red pepper flakes...1/4 teaspoon or more
  • Dried oregano & basil...1-2 teaspoons each
  • Sea salt...1/2 teaspoon & more to taste before serving
  • Fresh ground black pepper...1/8 teaspoon and more to taste
  • 2 smallish tomatoes chopped into 1" pieces
Instructions
  1. The Bacon: My favorite way to cook bacon is to bake it on parchment paper all laid out in a single layer on a baking pan at 350ºF for about 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon. Of course you have to turn it over about half way through, or more if you feel it's necessary. But, I guarantee you this makes delicious and crunchy bacon every time without the mess it makes on your stove top and without you having to babysit it.
  2. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. After removing the bacon from the pan add the chopped zucchini, eggplant, herbs & spices and toss well with two spoons until all the veggies are coated with the bacon fat.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until quite tender. Remove from the oven and add the chopped fresh tomato, mix in well and add more salt & pepper if necessary.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature with a little fresh-grated parmesan cheese and enjoy the taste of savory summer!

 

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