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Ratatouille is a traditional French dish originating in Nice, France. There are varying preparation methods, but in basic form, the recipe contains tomatoes, squash, zucchini, eggplant, and local herbs. In North America, we are in our prime harvest season for many of those vegetables and herbs. There is no better recipe to capitalize on an abundant harvest from your garden.
I chose the grilling method because its summer, which is perfect weather for grilling, and because this unique preparation of the dish adds some great smoky, roasted flavors not found in traditional methods. I envision people sitting around a table, outside at dusk, with glasses of chilled wine, really enjoying this dish and the social aspects of a shared, home cooked meal. The use of red wine vinegar and fresh herbs provide a great marinade that imparts some great fresh flavors as well as adding to the browning of the meat and veggies.
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Serving Size: 4-6 servings
Time to make: 30 minutes
Special Equipment: Grill/Smoker
Also works with: Any tenderloin or loin cut
2 lbs of venison tenderloin
12 basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 medium squash, cut to approx. 1” slices
1 medium zucchini, cut to approx. 1” slices
1 bell peppers, quartered
1 eggplant, quartered then cut to approx. 1” slices
4 medium tomatoes, halved
How to make it
- Preheat your grill or smoker to high or 500 degrees. While waiting, add basil, garlic, and thyme leaves, salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar to a blender. Blend until smooth, approximately 1-2 minutes. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the mixture.
- Add the squash, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add the bulk of the sauce from step 1. Toss well to cover all the vegetables.
- Place the venison tenderloins in a mixing bowl and add the 3 tbsp of sauce and toss well.
- Once the grill is heated, add the vegetables to the grill and allow to cook for minutes. Flip all the vegetables and allow them to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the tomatoes and bell peppers. Add the venison tenderloin to the hottest part of the grill. Allow the venison, eggplants, and squash to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Flip the venison steaks to sear on the other side. Remove the eggplant and squash. Remove the venison once the internal temp is at your preference, usually just after a minute or two. Combine vegetables and sliced tenderloin. Enjoy!