Dinner Rush! Grilled Ratatouille w/ Tomato Vinaigrette

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They always say we should eat more vegetables. And whether "they" are doctors, nutritionists or the infamous veggie marketing people from Portlandia (apparently  celery is the new thing), making an all-vegetable dinner that's both delicious and good for you isn’t too hard at this time of year.

To wit: ratatouille, that heralded peasant dish whose humility has remained intact despite the bright lights of big-screen movie stardom. This colorful medley is usually cooked into a semi-stew, but this version pays homage to summer's bounty by deconstructing the components and tossing them with a luscious tomato vinaigrette.

When you’re keeping it so simple, flavor and freshness are key. Shop local and pay attention to the quality. Ratatouille may be humble, but when it's done well, it is as good as it gets.

Grilled Ratatouille with Tomato Vinaigrette
Total Time: 18 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 8 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
For the vegetables:
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 pound baby sweet peppers
1 large eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and ground black pepper
For the vinaigrette:
1 large heirloom or beefsteak tomato
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons oregano leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Drizzle the vegetables with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables until charred and tender, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Slice the tomato in half and rub the cut side over the holes of a box grater, using the skin as a guard and discarding it once the flesh has been grated. Whisk the remaining ingredients into the tomato pulp and season with salt and pepper. Toss the warm vegetables with two-thirds of the tomato vinaigrette and serve with additional vinaigrette on the side.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Twitter & Instagram at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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