Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
the butter in small pot over low heat, then add the 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Let the garlic bubble for 2 minutes. In a medium bowl add the bread, 1 teaspoon dried herbes or thyme, about 1/3 palmful and the cheese
the garlic butter
over the bread mixture and arrange the croutons on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and evenly brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Croutons may be stored in an airtight container for a couple of days in a cool place.
Salt the eggplant
it in a colander
for30 minutes to remove the bitterness from the eggplant.
Meanwhile, blacken the skins of the red peppers over open flame on the stove or under a hot boiler. If broiling, leave the oven ajar to allow the steam to escape. Put the blackened
peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap
and let cool. Peel
and dice the peppers.
While peppers cool, heat a Dutch oven
over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add the eggplant, zucchini
, remaining sliced garlic, onions
and remaining 1 teaspoon of herbes or dried thyme. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crush
the tomatoes by hand and add them to the pot. Stir in the red peppers and 1/2 tomato-can of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer
for 15 minutes to concentrate the flavors. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal.
To serve, bring the ratatouille back to a simmer over medium heat, covered, then uncover and stir in the balsamic vinegar
. Make 4 nests or wells in the ratatouille
and crack an egg into each nest. Cover the pot and cook the eggs to desired doneness, about 2 to 5 minutes. Scoop the ratatouille and eggs
into shallow bowls and top with croutons and torn basil