Roasted Ratatouille Toasts

A delightful spin on the classic stew, this time slathered on toasted bread as a starter!

Ingredients:
1 heirloom tomato, roughly chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, some sliced in half, others left whole
1 Japanese eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 zucchini or summer squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 sweet pepper, such as Bull’s Horn, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
⅓ cup olive oil
2½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 loaf rustic bread, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices
8 ounces crème fraîche
½ cup basil, thinly sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan, toss the tomatoes, eggplant, squash or zucchini, pepper, onion and garlic with red pepper flakes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned and the tomatoes have released their juices. Stir the vegetables halfway through cooking.

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and increase the temperatures to a broil. Lightly brush each slice of bread with olive oil. Place them on the upper rack of the oven and toast until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes.

3. Divide the crème fraîche among the toasts and top with a generous portion of the ratatouille. Garnish with the basil and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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