Friday, February 3, 2012

Ratatouille Napoleon

I swear, I didn't just put two crazy words together to get your attention. Honestly, this has become one of my favorite things to make. I think it would be great for a party since you can prepare everything ahead of time and then just stack it on the plates. With the salty kick of the olive tapenade and the deep flavor of the roasted vegetables, you get immense complexity. The balsamic reduction pulls it all together and turns up the volume of the whole dish.

The nicest thing about this recipe is that you can take any of the components on their own (ratatouille, the balsamic reduction, the kalamata tapenade) and use them in another dish. For instance, the tapenade would be great on a cheese plate, and the balsamic reduction would be perfect on a caprese salad. But first, try it like this; I know you'll love it.

Ratatouille Napoleon

1 medium-sized eggplant (2-3 cups, peeled, diced)
1 cup diced white onion (about 1 medium)
1 green pepper (about 1/2 cup diced)
1 red pepper (about 1/2 diced)
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (diced)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt (to taste)
cracked black pepper (to taste)
phyllo dough (8 sheets)
Olive Tapenade (recipe follows)
4-6 ounces ricotta or soft goat cheese
Balsamic Reduction (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread eggplant, onion, peppers, and mushrooms onto a 9x17 rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with a olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes (tossing halfway through) until the vegetables start to caramelize on the edges. Remove pan from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool.

Brushing every other sheet with a bit olive oil and begin stack the sheets of phyllo pastry. Using a pizza cutter, slice puff pastry into 2"x2" squares. Using a medium ice cream scoop, transfer the ratatouille to half of the phyllo squares. Bake squares in a 400 degree oven on a rimmed baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Slather the phyllo that doesn't have any ratatouille covering it with a tablespoon of olive tapenade.

To serve, place a spoonful of your favorite soft cheese (ricotta or goat cheese) in the center of the plate, stack a phyllo dough that has been slathered in tapenade on top of the cheese, and finish the stack the ratatouille and phyllo. Finally, drizzle a tablespoon of the reduction over the whole thing.

Balsamic Reduction

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of sea salt
cracked black pepper
3 sprigs of thyme

Mix ingredients in a medium saucepan. Reduce mixture over medium heat until thick and syrupy; this should take about 10-15 minutes.

Olive Tapenade

1 shallot (minced)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 sprig fresh oregano
olive oil
1 cup kalamata olives (pitted)

Over medium-high heat, sauté shallot, garlic, and oregano in olive oil until soft and cooked through. This should take just a few minutes. In a food processor, blend the olives with the garlic mixture until smooth.

To serve, place a spoonful of your favorite soft cheese (ricotta or goat cheese) in the center of the plate, stack a phyllo dough that has been slathered in tapenade on top of the cheese, and finish the stack with the ratatouille and phyllo. Finally, drizzle the reduction over the whole thing.


  1. I tested this tonight--the recipe was easy to follow and each step made sense. There were a lot of steps and, while not complicated, the dish is time consuming but worth it. I think it would be best served at a party as a tapa plate. Certainly worthy of a main dish, but the rich tampanede and reduction are best in smaller bites in my opinion.

    I will definitely use the tapenade on a cheese and cracker plate! Sauteeing the garlic and shallot mellowed them and made the overall taste nuttier.

    I was thinking as the veggies cooled that tossing them with pasta and adding some grated cheese on top could make another yummy dish for leftovers.

  2. we love you! We are olive people, so the more the merrier, but I do understand you perspective. Imagine this dig with fresh summer veggies. ummmm. I can't wait.