Thanks Tyler! Summer Ratatouille with Feta, Green Olives, and Almonds

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summer-ratatouille3
An adaptation of Tyler Florences popular Ratatouille Recipe

This is the recipe that drove me to San Luis Obisbo to stand in line for an hour, in the heat, to meet Tyler Florence at Savor the Central Coast.

Ratatouille, really. Isn’t this just stewed summer vegetables in tomatoes and garlic? Richly Mediterranean flavors of summertime, sunshine and herbs, with origins from Occitan Provença, southern France. This dish is replicated in Catalonia, Spain and Majorca with different names. If you were to do a quick Google search, over 19 million linked results appear, including references to the adorable Disney movie with the same name. This, amongst other random thoughts crossed my mind as I waiting patiently in line for Tyer’s book signing, holding my new copy of his latest release Tyler Florence Family Meal and chatting up the nice couple from San Jose next to me in line. 

So, what do you say to a celebrity author when you get a chance to exchanges a few words?  All the cliches ran through my head and I desperately did not want to just gush, “I love your work!” So, my mind came back to this ratatouille recipe he had posted on foodtv.com. Traditional in nature but made with extraordinary topping of almonds, feta and green olives. This is the recipe that got me hooked on Tyler’s cooking aesthetic. A bit of creativity enhances the underlying tomatoey, garlic, herby goodness in an authentic way. The way a great chef shows restraint but still brings his personality to the dish. And as for popularity, seaching this recipe title comes up with nearly 8,000 references! You know it is a hit.  

Rushing in after a cooking demonstration ran long, Tyler settled into the author’s area. Quickly a glance at his phone, a sip of water and he began the business of signing in the stifling heat of the main tent. As I waited, I was happy to observe the interactions. Tyler was genuine, gracious and engaged with each person he met. So, in my couple of minutes, we talked eggplant, creativity and yes, I did gush. 

Tyler Florence at Savor the Central Coast, San Luis Obisbo, CA

Click Read More for my adaptation and links to the original recipe.


Summer Ratatouille
inspired by Tyler Florence’s Ratatouille with Feta, Green Olive and Almonds
Serves 6-8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40-60 minutes

Ingredients
Topping
1 cup whole raw almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 pound Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 cup pitted green olives, rough chopped (I mixed home style marinated olives and small Spanish olives with pimentos, use what you have.)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade (sliced thinly)

Ratatouille
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
2 small Vidalia Onions (or 1 medium sweet yellow onion), chopped
1 medium eggplant/aubergine, cut into ½” cubes (about 2 cups)
1 cup sweet yellow bell peppers (or red, green, orange), cut in ½” x ¾” pieces
2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into pieces
2 medium yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise, then quartered lenghwise again, and sliced into pieces
3-4 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 ½ tablespoons capers, drained
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and reserve juice (Cento Tomatoes with Basil)
½ cup reserved tomato juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sweet marjoram, chopped

Prep

  1. Toasting fresh nuts need constant watch and stirring to prevent burning. Toast almonds over medium heat for about 3 minutes
  2. Add olive oil, peppers and garlic, continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. You may have to turn down heat to prevent garlic from browning. If this happens the garlic pieces with taste burnt and bitter.
  3. Remove and drain on paper towels, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Set aside until cool enough to rough chop.
  4. Combine crumbled feta, chopped olives, basil and chopped almonds in a bowl. Set aside.
  5. Drain canned tomatoes and rough chop whole tomatoes into pieces. Reserve liquid juice

Directions
 Add olive oil in large, deep saute 12” pan, heat to medium and add garlic and red chili flakes to flavor oil, add onions and ⅛ cup basil leaves. Cook 3-5 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Add eggplant, stir to combine and coat eggplant pieces. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until eggplant is soft. You may want to add 1-2 tablespoons more olive oil to avoid eggplant drying out.
Add chopped summer squash, zucchini, peppers, fresh tomatoes and capers, continue cooking about until vegetables are soft, but holding their shape, about 10 minutes.
Add canned tomatoes, remaining chopped herbs, balsamic vinegar, and ½ cup reserved tomato liquid (or to your preference on liquidity,) bring up to low boil and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
Cool and serve family style in a bowl or platter with the feta, almond and cheese topping.
You might want to serve over crusty bread in a bowl like we did, or over creamy polenta.

Cook’s Tips
Inspiration from Tyler Florence’s Ratatouille with Feta, Green Olives, and Almonds
with about 8,000 google sites just today referencing and reviewing this recipe you know it is a GOOD recipe!

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2 Responses to Thanks Tyler! Summer Ratatouille with Feta, Green Olives, and Almonds

  1. Lyndsey says:

    Robin, I think that is so exciting. He is one food writer/celeb that I would stand in line for too. How could you not gush…with him right there in front of you in person? I agree love his take on ratatouille!! I found you through Bentobird, love your comments!

  2. Robin says:

    Welcome aboard Lyndsey, so wonderful to share a great blogging friend in Bentobird!

    Tyler has 3 restaurants in northern California and I have yet to go to one – or his kitchen shop in Mill Valley. He’s hosting a special dinner in November at his Napa Wine and Rotisserie restaurant as a Flavor! fundraiser, but the $1,000 price tag is too rich for my blood. Perhaps there will be other opportunities.

    So nice to hear from you again and have a great week.

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