Fontina-Topped Ratatouille Sandwiches
Ratatouille is a delicious dish of zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and herbs cooked in olive oil that originates from the French region of Provence. We think it makes a fabulous sandwich, served on a toasty baguette and topped with creamy, melted Fontina cheese.
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon herbes de Provence
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (12-inch) baguettes
- 4 ounces finely grated fontina cheese
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil onto a baking sheet and arrange the eggplant on top in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, 12 to 15 minutes (see notes).
While the eggplant roasts, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the red onion and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Add the yellow pepper, cook for 1 minute, then add the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is crisp-tender.
Add the tomatoes, herbes de Provence, thyme and a pinch more salt. Combine thoroughly and continue cooking until the tomatoes have softened, then reduce the heat to low to keep warm. As soon as the eggplant is done, add it to the other vegetables and combine.
Split the baguettes lengthwise (don't cut all the way through), then cut them in half to make 4 sandwich rolls. Arrange them on a baking sheet and divide the vegetables between them. Top with the fontina cheese and place them in the oven until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
To help reign in the fat and calories in this sandwich, we decided to roast our eggplant with a small amount of oil instead of adding it to the pan with the other veggies. Eggplant can absorb a lot of oil, making it necessary to add a fair amount more in order to cook the other vegetables. You can certainly cook the eggplant in the pan if you wish though ~ it's purely a matter of preference.