Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Remy's Ratatouille ( Confit Byaldi )

Have you ever seen that animated movie "Ratatouille"?  I have, and I just love it!  At the end, Remy makes a version of  the Ratatouille dish that wins over an infamously tough food critic.   This is the recipe, from the movie, courtesy of Thomas Keller. Unlike traditional ratatouilles, this recipe calls for layering vegetables in a spiral on top of a piperade (basically a sauce). You also could layer the vegetables in stripes, if you find that easier.

Confit Byaldi (or Remy's Ratatouille)

Makes: 4 servings

For the piperade (bottom layer):

1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 orange bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup of finely diced yellow onion
3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces total weight) , peeled, seeded and finely diced, juices reserved
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
1/2 a bay leaf
Kosher salt

For the vegetables:

1 medium zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16 -inch- thick rounds
1 yellow (summer) squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16 -inch- thick rounds
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16 -inch- thick rounds
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Assorted fresh herbs (such as thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment:

Oven-proof skillet

To make piperade, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place pepper halves on baking sheet, cut side down. Roast until skins loosen, about 15 minutes.

Remove peppers from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees.

Peel peppers and discard skins. Finely chop peppers, then set aside.

In medium skillet over low heat, combine oil, garlic and onion and saute until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes.

Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley and bay leaf.

Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until very soft and little liquid remains, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.

Add peppers and simmer to soften them. Discard herbs, then season to taste with salt.

Reserve a tablespoon of mixture, then spread remainder over bottom of an 8-inch oven proof skillet.
To prepare vegetables, you will arrange sliced zucchini, eggplant, squash qnd tomatoes over piperade in skillet.

Arrange eight alternating slices of vegetables down the center, overlapping them so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed.

This will be the center of the spiral. Around center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix garlic, oil and thyme, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle this over vegetables.

Cover skillet with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours.
Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes.

If there is excess liquid in pan, place it over medium heat on stove until reduced.

To make vinaigrette, in small bowl whisk together reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, heat broiler and place skillet under it until lightly browned. Slice in quarters and lift very carefully onto plate with an offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees as you set food down, gently spreading food into fan shape.

Drizzle vinaigrette around plate.

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