Whatever you call this one, a Tian Provençal, ratatouille or a confit byaldi, they are all very nice varieties of delicious Mediterranean casseroles!
When reading this recipe over at seriouseats.com, it seemed to me that it is an elaborate type of melanzane alla parmigiana, but with additional vegetables and presented in a beautiful spiral formation. Nice!!
I couldn’t get my hands on summer squash or yellow courgettes, so it was just plain ole’ aubergine and green courgette. To make the dish resemble a melanzane a bit more, I decided to add 2 sliced balls of mozzarella cheese and “spiral” them in as well.
For the tomato sauce, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and fry 2 chopped small onions for 5 minutes or so. Then add 5 chopped cloves of garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add an 800g / 28oz tin of whole peeled tomatoes (crushed by hand or a give them 2 or 3 short blitzes in the food processor) and cook for another 30 minutes.
Then stir through 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh Mediterranean herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano leaves. Make sure that the tomato sauce is well seasoned as it will need to carry all the flavor as the vegetables themselves only receive a sprinkling of salt. Put the tomato sauce into the food processor (or use a stick blender directly to the pan) and blitz until completely smooth.
In the meantime, get 2 courgettes and 2 aubergines and cut them in 0.6 cm/¼ inch slices. The recipe calls for pan-frying the sliced vegetables on high heat to lightly brown them. I don’t like panfrying aubergines as they tend to soak up all the oil very quickly (courgettes less so, therefore, I followed the recipe on that one which also made the whole cooking process twice as fast). Time to get the trusty panini grill out: just lightly brush the eggplant slices with olive oil (you will need about 1 tbsp per aubergine), season them with salt and grill them!