My husband and I have wanted to try ratatouille for a long time. In case you’re not familiar with it, ratatouille is a French summer vegetable stew made with eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, and tomato. It’s often shown as neat rows of thinly sliced vegetables neatly arranged in a shallow dish. What I didn’t know was it can also be made with chunks of vegetables in tomato sauce, which is how I envision a stew. This Spicy Ratatouille Brunch Skillet is made the latter way. Plus it adds some hot sauce and eggs for good measure.
I’m a huge fan of spicy food, and I love the extra protein the eggs add since it makes vegetable dishes more filling. I love the idea of vegan meals, but I find they don’t stick with me as long as meals with meat, fish, or eggs. Of all the proteins, eggs at least keep things vegetarian, so they’re a great compromise for me.
I have made a couple of similar recipes in the past. If you like eggs and vegetables be sure to check out my Turkish Menemen and Mexican Baked Eggs posts. They were both very tasty ovo-vegetarian meals with different spice palettes. Let’s find out if I’ll be adding this Spicy Ratatouille Brunch Skillet to my favorite recipes along with the two I just mentioned!
This ratatouille skillet is one of the easiest and most impressive brunch dishes you’ll make. It takes minimal effort and has so many layers of wonderful flavor.
I did a quick check as I made my grocery list, and I only had a few ingredients. Of course, they were staples like salt, pepper, olive oil, and, of course, Tabasco sauce.
I had to show for the rest of the ingredients which were lots of fresh vegetables, a few canned items, and eggs. All easy to find at my regular grocery store. Or almost any grocery store I would imagine.
I did buy an extra eggplant and 4 zucchini. Since they were on the small side, it was hard to envision how much they would make once they were chopped up. I ended up using 1 eggplant and 1 1/2 zucchini.
I also bought a dozen eggs in case I broke one while I was making my ratatouille. They did have half dozen packages, but I wanted to be safe since it’s so easy to break a yolk.
I have always had it in my head that ratatouille would be difficult to make. All those photos of super thinly sliced vegetables arranged so neatly looked so perfect! I wasn’t sure if I would be able to achieve that. This recipe was loads easier since the vegetables were just chopped and diced. I do that all the time!
And that’s exactly how I began this recipe. I peeled and chopped 1 whole eggplant to get 4 cups. By the way, peeling was just a personal preference, and I do it if the eggplant skin seems thick because it’s chewy when cooked. Yuck!
Next came the zucchini, and I used 1 1/2. I didn’t peel those, but I did square the sides to get the cubes even. That removed most of the peel. I finished the vegetables by dicing 1/2 red bell pepper and 1 onion then pressing 2 garlic cloves.
The vegetables needed to cook for 10 minutes, so that gave me time to finish the prep work. It was mostly just opening cans and measuring out a few things. Tip: By the way, I did not drain the canned diced tomatoes. The recipe doesn’t say to, and the liquid helped create the sauce.
During this time I broke the eggs into small prep bowls. I loved doing it this way instead of breaking them directly into the pan and hoping the yolks didn’t break. Somehow I managed to get all 6 into the bowls with no broken yolks, so everything was ready to go when the vegetables finished.
The rest of the process went very smoothly. I mixed in the remaining ingredients as instructed. I tasted the mixture before I added the eggs, and it was so good! There was plenty of spice with that distinctive Tabasco flavor, but I could still taste the vegetables. I decided not to adjust the seasonings.
Adding the Eggs
Then I used a large spoon to make divots in the vegetable mixture to add each egg. The ingredients say to use 6, but the instructions list 5 to 8. That made me worry I would not be able to fit all 6, but they fit perfectly. I used a 12-inch cast-iron pan and started on the outside edge. I worked around the pan and placed the final egg in the center.
Lastly, I tucked some spinach leaves in between the eggs before covering the pan and letting the eggs steam. The instructions say 6-8 minutes, but my eggs were done over-easy in 5 minutes. In other words, the whites were set and the yolk was runny—perfect for dipping bread into, which is exactly how I served this dish.
Will the tomatoes damage cast iron?
According to America's Test Kitchen, they will not, but there are some caveats. First of all, your cast-iron pan needs to be well-seasoned. If it isn’t, your food will probably end up with a metallic taste. Acidic food can be cooked for a short time in a cast-iron pan before that happens. Also, be sure to remove the food from the pan as soon as it finishes cooking. And if you’re still not sure? You can always use another type of pan.
This recipe lists 10 minutes to prep, 20 minutes to cook, and 30 minutes total. I went a little over that, but not by too much. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 13 minutes to prep
- 23 minutes to cook
- 36 minutes total