Recipe: Justin Bartolet's Ratatouille Toasts
When I met Justin Bartolet at the Raleigh City Farmers’ Market this past Wednesday, he was busily whipping up a skillet of fragrant ratatouille. He mounded it on top of little circles of buttered toast and handed one to me. Justin, who is sous chef at the Raleigh restaurant Gravy, has a baby face and a gracious humility that belies his years of experience in the kitchen. But as I tasted Justin’s ratatouille—so simply prepared yet so elegant, a two-bite appetizer that was at once bright, sweet, and savory—I knew that this was a chef to keep an eye on.Justin Bartolet's Ratatouille ToastsServes about 20 (2 per person)Sliced whole grain bread, toasted, buttered, and cut into small rounds with a cookie- or biscuit-cutter2 tablespoons canola oil2 cups diced eggplant1 cup diced red or green bell peppers1 ounce diced red onion1 teaspoon garlic1 cup diced tomatoSplash of red wine vinegarSalt and pepper to tasteSpicy microgreens (parsley will work in a pinch) for garnishChapel Hill Creamery’s Calvander cheese, for garnishDirections: In a large skillet, sauté eggplant and peppers with oil just until the skin of the vegetables is soft. Add onion and garlic to the skillet and sauté until garlic becomes fragrant. Remove from heat. Toss sautéed vegetables in a medium bowl with the diced tomatoes and a splash of red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.Mound ratatouille onto toast rounds. Garnish with sprigs of microgreens, and shaved Calvander cheese.