Free Range Nurse

Cooking therapy from a former travel nurse

Confit Byaldi a.k.a. Ratatouille October 29, 2010

Filed under: dinner,lunch,side dishes — freerangenurse @ 9:49 am

Confit Byaldi

I’ll admit, before I saw the movie, Ratatouille, I had heard of ratatouille, but never had much desire to know what it was.  As Linguine would say, “It sounds like rat…patootie.”  Not very appetizing, but when Remy makes it at the end of the movie, it looks delicious.  Yes, I realize it was a cartoon, but I still wanted a cartoon bite!  I did some research and found out that the chef-spiration for Remy’s cooking came from Thomas Keller.  Mr. Keller is already a favorite of mine because of this recipe, and because I have loved all of the recipes I’ve tried from his Ad Hoc cookbook.  Plus, I’ve always wanted to go to his French Laundry restaurant, until I saw this!  Well, actually, I still want to go, but I guess I’ll have to wait until someone else wants to foot the bill.

While researching Keller and Remy, I found a link to the recipe for Ratatouille’s ratatouille by the man himself.  I made a couple of modifications, but it is still pretty true to the original.  It pairs amazingly well with goat cheese (an idea I gleaned from Smitten Kitchen).  It was hearty enough to be dinner and good enough to be lunch the following day.  I only wish I had made more so it could have been dinner again.  It was that good!

Don’t let all the steps and prep work scare you away.  If you have a mandolin (which doesn’t have to be expensive – mine is from Pampered Chef), it makes pretty quick work of the veggie prep.  My daughter did all the arranging and she is very proud of it.  Sadly, I did not bother to take an after picture, so all I have is an in progress photo.

Confit Byaldi
Thomas Keller’s Confit Byaldi

adapted slightly

For Piperade:

  • 1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 3 San Marzano tomatoes (from can), seeded and coarsely diced, juices reserved
  • 1 sprig of thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 sprig flat leaf parsley, or 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf, his recipe called for half a bayleaf, but seriously?
  • kosher salt

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Place pepper halves on a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down.  Roast until the 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 a medium skillet over low heat until very soft, but not browned, about 8 minutes.  Add tomatoes, their juices, and herbs.  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 bay leaf.  Reserve a tablespoon of mixture and spread the remainder in the bottom of a pie plate.  Set aside.

For Vegetables

  • 1 zucchini (4-5 ounces), sliced into 1/16th inch rounds
  • 1 Japanese eggplant (4-5 ounces), sliced into 1/16 inch rounds
  • 1 yellow squash (4-5 ounces), sliced into 1/16 inch rounds
  • 4 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16th inch rounds
  • 2 red bell peppers (long, skinny ones), sliced into 1/16th inch slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Starting in the center of the pie plate, arrange vegetable slices, in an alternating pattern, over piperade so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed.  Once you reach the outside of the pie pan, start working in concentric circles back in, until you fill the dish.  Combine remaining ingredients and drizzle over vegetables.  Set aside.

For Sauce:

  • 1 box Pomi tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence (or a combination of herbs such as thyme, chervil, basil, etc)

Mix herbs into tomato sauce and pour over prepared vegetables until just covered.  Cover dish with parchment paper (not just aluminum foil – it reacts negatively to tomatoes), then aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Bake for an hour to an hour and a half, until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife.

Using a spatula, remove a desired amount of the confit byaldi to a plate, top with a dollop of fresh goat cheese and swoon!  I really need to make this again!

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