Feast on beautiful little rolls of eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, mozzarella and anchovy, all baked in a tangy, fresh tomato sauce, with a hint lavender, of course.
Author: Adapted from Grace Parisi
- 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, scored with an “X” on the bottoms
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed culinary lavender
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups cubed country bread
- 2½ pounds firm medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into ⅛-inch-thick strips
- 2½ pounds small eggplant, preferably Japanese, cut lengthwise into ⅛-inch-thick strips
- 3 roasted red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch strips
- 18 oil-packed anchovies, cut into thin strips
- ¾ pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 2-by- ½-inch sticks
- In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the tomatoes for 30 seconds; drain. Slip off the skins and halve the tomatoes crosswise. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, keeping the juices and seeds.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic, lavender and crushed pepper and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and juices and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, toss the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toast for about 15 minutes, stirring once, until golden.
- In 2 separate colanders, toss the zucchini and eggplant with 1 tablespoon of salt each and let drain for 15 minutes. Shake out the excess liquid and pat the slices dry.
- Spoon the tomato sauce into a shallow 2½-quart baking dish and scatter the bread cubes on top. On a work surface, top each zucchini slice with a slice of eggplant; blot dry if necessary. Place a strip of roasted pepper and anchovy and a stick of mozzarella at one end of each stack and roll up. Stand the rolls in the baking dish and brush with oil.
- Cover with parchment paper. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender and the ratatouille is bubbling; remove the parchment halfway through baking. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.