This show stopping Keto friendly side dish is the perfect recipe to accompany just about anything from steak to fresh fish. The beautiful kaleidoscope of colors contained in the bold backdrop of cast iron make this dish as visually pleasing as it is delicious.
This is one of those side dishes that could easily double as a meal if you wanted. Full of colors veggies like zucchini, squash, eggplant and tomatoes along with fresh mozzarella cheese and salty cured prosciutto every bite is sure to wake up every last taste bud.
No, this was not made by a cooking rat from an animated movie!!
This is another one of my Keto mashups where I take two different dishes and bring them together to create something new and exciting. Ratatouille isn’t just an animated children’s movie about a cooking rat, believe it or not it’s a classic French dish comprised of eggplant and other seasonal vegetables normally sautéed w/ fresh herbs in a light tomato sauce. Just like most classic European recipes there are hundreds of various versions based on the regional tastes. Caponata is an Italian eggplant dish very similar to ratatouille normally served cold with crusty bread.
The second component of this recipe is the fresh mozzarella and tomatoes commonly paired in the Italian dish Tomato Caprese. Caprese is a simple salad consisting of tomatoes, mozzarella, Basil and olive oil. It’s sometimes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and served over “rocket” also known as arugula.
France and Italy come together in one pan
I wanted to put together a traditional ratatouille but I wanted something a bit more filling, the mozzarella and prosciutto were the perfect partners to make this recipe more substantial along with bringing a ton of flavor to the dish.
Though you can use any type of eggplant for this recipe I’ve found that Japanese or graffiti eggplants work best because of their smaller more uniform size. When choosing your other veggies try to purchase similar sized produce so when assembling the dish everything is a similar size. The same goes for the mozzarella. I often find the pre sliced tubes of fresh mozzarella are quite convenient but if you can’t find any you can always just cut a larger ball into quarter slices. I’ll be honest my intent was to incorporate fresh basil into my ratatouille Caprese but the quality of basil at the store was sub par so I skipped it but if you have some I recommend incorporating it into the recipe.
Time to get slicing
Once you’ve got all your ingredients laid out it’s time to start slicing. The goal is to have all of the veggies cut to the same thickness so they will cook evenly. You can most definitely cut them buy hand but I prefer to use a Japanese Mandolin. Please use the safety guard and pay attention while you’re slicing, many a fingertip have been lost to the Gatana sharp blade of the mandolin. I set the blades width for about as wide as it would go which is still only about an 1/8th of an inch. After all your veggies are sliced it’s time to assemble.
I like to take a few tablespoons of Olive oil any wipe down the inside of the cast iron pan then I use that paper towel to act as a book shelf for my veggies as I layer them all the way around the pan before removing the paper towel as you squeeze in the last of the veggies. Continue to spiral the veggies, cheese and prosciutto until your pan is full.
Before roasting in the oven I like to brush some olive oil or butter infused with fresh herbs and garlic over top so the vegetables caramelize as they cook. Once the ratatouille Caprese if out of the oven feel free to give it an extra drizzle of olive oil and maybe grate some good Pecorino Romano as well.
- 1.5 lbs Fresh Mozzarella
- 8 oz Prosciutto
- 2 Japanese Eggplant
- 2 zucchini
- 2 squash
- 6 Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Pre heat oven to 425 Degrees F.
- Using a knife or mandolin slice your zucchini, squash, eggplant and tomatoes into 1/8th inch thick slices
- Using a paper towel wipe down the inside of you cast iron pan with 1 tbsp olive oil, next place the balled up paper towel in the pan on the outside to act as a base to hold your veggies as you spiral them around the outside of the pan.
- Continue to spiral the ingredients in the pan until it is full. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper along with any fresh herbs or grated Parmesan you would like to add
- Bake for 30- 40 minutes until veggies have caramelized on top, let rest for 5 minutes before serving.