Ratatouille and Romaine Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
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© Paden Reich
I know what you’re thinking. Ratatouille and romaine salad don’t go together! Okay, I initially thought the same thing because this recipe was actually a mistake. A lovely, delicious mistake, in fact. I used to go to this café in L.A. called the Moustache Café and I always ordered the ratatouille and a romaine salad. When I started working on this blog I said, “I want to do a ratatouille and a romaine salad.” I guess the fast-talking Italian in me had come out because my team thought I meant to do them together, which wasn’t my intention. But then I tried it and thought, “wow, this is terrific.” I love mixing the heft of the ratatouille with the lightness from the romaine. It’s really so good, and you don’t need to add protein if you don’t want to. Also, I always double the ratatouille recipe and save half to eat with eggs the next morning. Trust me, you’ll be happy there’s more.
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the zucchini, squash, eggplant, mushrooms, shallot halves, sherry vinegar, thyme, 1/4 cup of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper in a large bowl; toss to combine, coating all the vegetables.
2. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until the vegetables are caramelized and softened, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan, and cool to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, chopped shallot, honey, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Let stand for 2 minutes.
4. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking into the balsamic mixture until blended. Toss together the roasted vegetables and cherry tomatoes with half of the dressing.
5. Place the torn romaine in a large bowl or arrange on a large platter. Spoon the vegetable mixture over the lettuce; sprinkle with the feta and basil. Serve the salad with the remaining dressing.
The vegetables can be roasted a day ahead, and the dressing can be made a day ahead. The variation is perfect for leftover pasta.
Prepare 1 cup of uncooked mini penne pasta according to package directions. Cool the pasta completely. Prepare the recipe as directed, adding the cooked and cooled pasta to the vegetable mixture in Step two.
1 medium zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 Japanese eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 (8-ounce) package small button mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
4 medium shallots, halved, plus 1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups heirloom cherry tomato halves
1 large head romaine lettuce, torn
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
Hands on time
1 Hour, 30 Minutes