There are lots of very complicated recipes for this style of Ratatouille. The Thomas Keller one is excellent and if you can get your hands on that you won't be disappointed, but I wanted to so a simpler version, that was easier and had a lot less steps and took a lot less time to make. The Bloody Mary spin is my own idea. It's a tomato sauce base made from tomato juice, spiked with celery salt, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce. Feel free to doctor that up anyway you wish. (Or you can even mess around with a store-bought Bloody Mary Mix if you would like!) You'll need a mandolin to make slicing these quick and easy, and a shallow pie tin covered with parchment. You'll also need some tin foil to cover the ratatouille for baking. This recipe requires a lot of oven time, that's why it's best for end of Summer, early September, when temps have cooled but produce is at it's peak.
You'll need 2 large Green Zucchini, 2 long but firm Chinese Eggplants, 4 Roma Tomatoes. It's really important that they are all similar in widths. Also purchase 1 Orange or Yellow Bell Pepper, (I liked the Orange best for color.) Using a mandolin slice all into coins thickness of about 1/8 or 1/16 inch. The bell pepper you can't mandolin into coins so I just sliced it into strips. You'll layer the strips when you assemble the dish.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place 2 cups of canned Tomato Juice (like Sacramento) into a saucepan, with 1 teaspoon of Celery Salt, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce, 1 teaspoon of prepared Horseradish, 1 teaspoon of Hot Sauce, (if you like it hotter, kick it up a notch!) A big pinch of Salt, a few turns from a freshly ground Pepper Mill. Taste. Add more hot sauce or horseradish accordingly to your liking. It should taste a little bit salty and rich. (It has accommodate a lot of veg!) Bring liquid mixture to boil, reduce to simmer, and stir occasionally until mixture is reduced to at least half and quite thick. (20-30 mins, at least.)
Place tomato liquid in shallow pie container or ceramic pie dish. (I like to put a parchment sheet on top of my pie tin, but it's not mandatory.) The tomato liquid will help the coins sit in the pattern neatly and easily. Arrange coins in a circular pattern, alternating between eggplant, zucchini, tomato and bell pepper until covered. This should take you about 7 minutes. Don't stress. Just be deliberate and keep moving. The point is to keep them as upright as possible and don't worry if they're not perfect. You will have some leftover 'coins' so if you don't use all of them up, don't worry. Season lightly with Salt and Pepper. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake in a 275 degree oven for 2 hours. Then uncover and bake for an additional half hour or until brown and caramelized. Watch that it doesn't burn. Sprinkle with fresh Basil before serving. (Optional.) Serves 6-8 as a side dish, or appetizer.
Notes: -Leftover unbaked coins of eggplant, tomato, and zucchini can we reduced down in tomato juice at a later date and served as a side dish to grilled chicken or salmon. Or as a breakfast dish with poached eggs. -Make sure you use firm, fresh, eggplant. Soft, withered or old eggplant will be hard to slice in the Mandolin.
To see a video on how to make this, check out my Instagram. Video by @tarasgroi