My sister in law surprised me with this fun kitchen gadget she found at a lavender festival. It is a grinder for dried herbes de Provence. What better use for it's contents than a pot of Ratatouille.
Sunny summer vegetables make an appearance in this favorite French dish, but I could not stop there. I envisioned a sandwich with melty cheese, and each bite dripping vegetable juices down my chin.
1 pound unpeeled eggplant, cubed
1/2 pound zucchini, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 any color bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, crumbled (or thyme, if not available)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (2 1/2-ounce) whole wheat sandwich rolls
3 ounces fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Place eggplant and zucchini in colander, sprinkle with one teaspoon salt and toss. Let drain in sink or over a plate one half hour to remove bitterness. Rinse and dry vegetables with cotton or paper towels.
In Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in bell pepper, onion, and eggplant-zucchini mixture. Cook, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato sauce, bay leaf, herbes de Provence, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper and mix well. Cover and cook 20 minutes, again stirring occasionally. Remove lid and cook about 10 minutes more, until most of liquid evaporates.
Cut each roll lengthwise leaving bottom part thicker than top. Pull out some bread from the bottom part to make room for Ratatouille (roll should end up weighing about 2 ounces). Toast bread slightly in toaster oven or regular oven. Fill each bottom part with one half cup Ratatouille. Evenly distribute cheese slices on top of Ratatouille and place back in oven for about a minute to melt cheese. Place top on sandwich and serve. Makes 4 sandwiches, 5 points plus and 313 calories each.
Note: There will be about 2 cups Ratatouille left over. Serve as side dish at another meal, as topping for rice or pasta, or make 4 more sandwiches another time. One half cup is 1 point plus and 126 calories.