The French know how to seduce the palate. The fact that they can turn a few vegetables into a rich medley of flavours is to be admired. Ratatouille is a dish to love. It is one of those dishes that requires some patience but when finished is worth every minute. The traditional recipe takes a long time therefore I made a few tweeks to it. No offense to the French. This is a dish that warms the heart and brings back memories of my holidays in the south of France.
I respect bacon. I am a big fan and I use it carefully and lovingly. I like to make it sizzle slowly and to not use any additional fat when cooking it. Whether on the grill pan or in the oven, it will crisp by itself and does not need any help. Bacon and ratatouille are a marriage made in heaven. This dish is my way to honor the subtle cooking of the french and my love for bacon.
Wine Tip: Shiraz or Cabernet Franc
Ratatouille & Bacon Crostini
- 1 red pepper cut in 1 inch cubes
- 1 medium red onion cut in 1 inch cubes
- 1 medium tomato cut in 1 inch cubes
- 1 medium zuchinni cut in 1 inch cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- ¼ red chili finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- ¼ teaspoon dry oregano
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 60 grams of bacon
- Salt and pepper
- One baguette or other crusty bread
Set a large skillet on medium heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the onion, the chili and the the garlic stirring regularly until the onion is soft and caramelized. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the zuchinni, tomato, and the bell pepper. Mix all together and continue stirring until the vegetables begin to soften. This will take around 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and a bit of water if the mixture begins to dry up. Stir in the oregano, paprika the salt, and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the parsley and mix well. Set aside.
Add strips of bacon to a cold pan. Do not overcrowd it. Set the pan on low heat. Soon the bacon will begin to release some of its fat. When it starts to criso and curl, turn each slice to cook on the other side. Keep flipping and turning the bacon so that it browns evenly and becomes crsipy all over. Once done, lay the bacon on a paper towel so it absorbs any extra fat.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a grill pan. Add the sliced bread to the pan and grill on both sides. Once golden all over, remove from the heat.
Add a tablespoon of the ratatouille to the toasted bread. Top with a crispy strip of bacon and decorate with parsley. Add a few grains of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve warm or room temperature.