Photo courtesy of Todd Gray


Grilled Polenta Over Fall Ratatouille
Todd Gray, Executive Chef / Co-Owner, Equinox, Washington, DC

Serves 4 Adults, or 2 Adults & 3-4 Children


Ratatouille Ingredients:

2 ripe tomatoes

¼ cup olive oil

1 red onion medium, cut into medium dice

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 zucchini medium, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 yellow squash medium, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 red bell pepper medium, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups V-8juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese 



Prep the tomatoes. Bring a medium-size pot of water to boiling over high heat. Drop the tomatoes into the water and cook for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Use a paring knife to peel the tomatoes; then core each one and squeeze out the seeds. Chop the tomatoes.


Cook the ratatouille. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic, cook until shiny, about 2 minutes. Stir in the eggplant, cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in the zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, and tomatoes; cook until they are shiny and slightly softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the V-8 juice and thyme; bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat to low; cover the pan and simmer until the mixture has thickened and the vegetables are cooked through, about30 minutes.


Add the topping. Preheat the oven to broil. Stir the salt and pepper into the ratatouille; taste the mixture and add more seasoning if you wish. Sprinkle the cheese over the ratatouille and place the pan under the broiler until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown for 2-3minutes. Top with grilled polenta (recipe follows) Serve immediately, family style.  



Grilled Polenta

2 cups water

1 cup milk

1 ½ cups instant polenta

1 Tbsp minced rosemary

1 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper, to taste



Heat milk and water into a 3-quart saucepot over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and add polenta, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and cook on low until
polenta is cooked and has a “porridge” consistency, approximately 15 minutes.  


Stir in rosemary and butter, adjust seasoning and keep warm. If consistency is too loose polenta will not grill well - be sure mixture is thick and tight - like
cookie batter. Place in a 8”x10” glass baking dish and let cool. Once cool, cut
into triangles or squares. 


Thoroughly preheat a cleaned and oiled grill (carbon build up will make polenta stick). Brush polenta with olive oil. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side on very hot grill -
polenta should not stick to grill before turning.