My friend and I went to an Indian market the other day, and I bought the cutest little eggplants no bigger than a large hen’s egg. One of these – unpeeled – sliced up into about 8 or 9 slices. A summer squash came next, followed by the tomato.
I put all the sliced vegetables into a small bowl and drizzled about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over them. I followed this with about a tablespoon of very good balsamic vinegar, as well as some sea salt and fresh black pepper. After tossing the veggies in this mix, I spread them out on a cookie sheet. I added about a tablespoon of sliced leeks, separated into rings and sprinkled among the slices.
Then I went out to the front porch where my herb garden (in pots) is flourishing, and snipped some basil and rosemary (about two tablespoons, sliced). These got sprinkled on top of the “ratatouille” mix.
These all went into the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. I kept an eye on their progress and actually pulled them out about 5 minutes early, as the thinnest slices were beginning to turn too crispy. As soon as I brought them out of the oven, I sprinkled shredded fresh Parmesan over the top. Then I piled the whole mess onto my plate!
Meanwhile, I had taken the remains of the vegetable marinade of balsamic vinegar, oil and the bits of tomatoes and seeds that were left, and strained it into a cup; I set it aside.
Briefly I sauteed some baby portabello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced in half, in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter. Then I added chicken tenders that I’d cut into 2-inch chunks, and rolled in Panko crumbs. When the chicken was cooked, I moved it over to the other side of the skillet and deglazed the pan with the vinegar and oil mixture. The chicken and mushrooms went on to my plate and the reduced sauce went over everything (there was only a couple teaspoons of liquid, but it was enough...)
I gotta say, it was a whole lot quicker than traditional ratatouille and the results were absolutely yummy. You could certainly change up, add or subtract any vegetables you'd prefer to use, and omit the chicken as well. Experiment with it!