Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Ratatouille... yes, the one from the movie, Remy's dish!!
If you like me love all things related to the cooking world, then you must have seen the movie Ratatouille!!
I went to watch it soon as it appeared in the movie theater around here and couldn't have liked it more! Matheus and I liked it so much that we watched it a second time with my Mom, Sister, and Brother in Law when they were here visiting us.
The movie is fun and gives a great message about how we should follow our dream - if you truly believe in yourself you can get where you want - at the same time making us think of how we sometimes might judge people on the appearance instead of looking deep into how they are truly able to perform (Although I am not sure I would still eat the food after seeing the massive amount of rodents present in that kitchen, being them good cook or not!!)
Anyway, this post is here not to make a movie review, but to share the recipe that actually inspired the movie writers who gave life to Remy (which to me still is the creator of the dish! hehehe!)
Ratatouille is, as described in the movie, considered as "pheasant" food, meaning it is a very simple dish that uses up the extra vegetables that the farmers used to have during their harvest. It is basically a stew, a mix of yummy vegetables and herbs that creates its own sauce and deliciousness as it cooks.
No need to embellish such good food, right? Yes, but it is clear that the movie producers found a way to make it look just as good as it taste!
The dish in question is actually not even a "Ratatouille" per say, after being made the way it was, in reality it is a Confit Byaldi, created by the chef Thomas Keller. (The arrangement of sliced vegetables is what maked this particular dish a "Byaldi")
Well, whatever the name, and whoever created this.... it is Delicious!!!
Simply fabulous, full of flavors and definitely better than I can ever describe it here.
We loved the dish and polished of the whole thing among the three of us (ahem... I did have a couple extra helpings of what is considered polite to eat, but lets not get into the details, shall we?!!!!).
It is a little time consuming I have to say, as you need to do a bit of slicing and dicing to get all ingredients ready, plus there is the piperade that might be made first. But don't let the process scare you of making this, because it is truly a great dish! (some planning in advance and you will enjoy your time in the kitchen making this... or at least I did!)
The piperade is very good, and the vinaigrette... oh my, that was delicious all by itself, and I will certainly double this part next time I make it as I found the amount of the vinaigrette to be too little compared to the rest of the dish.
I did shop for my produce at the farmer's market and tried to find all vegetables of the same diameter in order to make the dish look pretty. It was worth it, but not completely necessary, as the flavors are definitely way better than it might look.
Well, after a huge post I leave here the recipe for those who would like to try. And if you are a fan of vegetables and simple but delicious food... then I am sure you will love this just as much as we did!!
Thomas Keller's Ratatouille
1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces total weight), peeled, seeded and finely diced, juices reserved
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
1/2 bay leaf
1 zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16-inch rounds
1 Japanese eggplant, (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
1 yellow squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make piperade:
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.
Combine oil, garlic and onion in medium skillet and cook over low heat on stovetop until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt and discard herbs. Reserve 1 tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch ovenproof skillet.
To prepare vegetables:
Heat oven to 275 degrees. In center of skillet arrange 8 alternating slices of vegetables, 2 each of zucchini, eggplant, squash and tomatoes, over piperade, overlapping in a circle so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Continue alternating and overlapping vegetables in close spiral that lets slices mound slightly in center. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed.
Mix garlic, oil and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle 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 30 minutes more. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If there is excess liquid in pan, place over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. If desired, reheat in 350-degree oven until warm.)
To make vinaigrette:
Combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
Heat broiler and place byaldi underneath until lightly browned. Cut in quarters and very carefully lift one quarter onto plate with offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees, guiding byaldi into fan shape. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate.
And here goes a few pictures I took along the process...
Piperade in the bottom of the dish
Veggies arranged on dish, right before going into the oven...
And after it came out.