Vegetable Dishes

Ratatouille

When I saw the preview to the film Ratatouille, I knew immediately that this was going to become one of my all time favourites! My instinct never fails me with these issues and the film was indeed excellent-simply excellent! I laughed, I shed a few tears and identified so very well with Remy.

This cute little guy even inspired me, reminding the audience to always follow
your heart and go for that in which you believe! I was also very moved by the food critic Anton Ego’s final critique after tasting Remy’s ratatouille:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.

Fabulous, simply fabulous! So, after watching the movie, my mouth was literally watering. I was hungry, although I had eaten just before the film, and immediately set out to make the Ratatouille dish which was featured in the film. In my eager manner, I forgot to measure or take exact note of what I really did, but here are the photos of the outcome. I will make it again next week and post the recipe for you. In the following, I have copied the official recipe for Remy’s Ratatoulli. Bon appétit!

Remy’s Ratatouille Recipe:
Before diving into the recipe, I would like to share a few intersting points. This recipe was created by the chef Thomas Keller, who was working as the food consultant for the film (yes, I really want that job!). His Remi Ratatouliie recipe was inspired by the French chef Michel Guérardis recipe for Confit Bayaldi. I discovered that this name is actually a play on the turkish dish called imam Bayildi, which is a stuffed eggplant. So Thomas simply decided to call his dish Confit Byaldi! I wonder if I could do that-take a recipe as inspiration and change the name as I so desire. In fact, I think that I will, as of today, do just that! When I am ready to post my ratatouille recipe, perhaps I shall call it: Confit Bylaureli? Yes, that is what it will be! But, I regress-O.K. Back to the official recipe:

You will need about 3 1/2 hours in total. This includes 1 hour of actual active time. This recipe serves 4 people (in my case, it served 2 as my partner and I are rather big eaters!

Servings: 4

For the piperade (the bottom layer) you will need:

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 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 you will need:

1 medium zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16-inch-thick rounds

1 Japanese eggplant (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 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 you will need:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon 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 the piperade, preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with foil.Place pepper halves on the baking sheet, cut side down. Roast until the skins loosen, about 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 275 F. Peel the peppers and discard the skins. Finely chop the 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 the 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 the peppers and simmer to soften them. Discard the herbs, then season to taste with salt. Reserve a tablespoon of the mixture, then spread the remainder over the bottom of an 8-inch oven-proof skillet.To prepare the vegetables, you will arrange the sliced zucchini, eggplant, squash and tomatoes over the piperade in the skillet.

Begin by arranging 8 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 the center strip, overlap the vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. All vegetables may not be needed. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the garlic, oil and thyme, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle this over vegetables.Cover the skillet with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until the vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.)If there is excess liquid in pan, place it over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350 F oven until warm.) To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. To serve, heat the 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 the food down, gently fanning the food into fan shape. Drizzle the vinaigrette around plate and eat! Yummers!!!

Here is the recipe in German: Remy’s Rezept für Ratatouillle

Piperade:

½ rote Paprika, entkernt

½ gelbe Paprika, entkernt

½ orangene Paprika, entkernt

2 EL Olivenöl, extra vergine

1 TL sehr fein gehackten Knoblauch

2 mittelgroße Zwiebeln, fein gewürfelt

350 g reife, vollfleischige Tomaten, gehäutet, entkernt und fein gewürfelt, den Saft auffangen

1 kleiner Zweig Thymian

1 kleiner Zweig glatte Petersilie

1 Lorbeerblatt

Salz

Gemüse:

1 Zucchini (ca. 130 g), in 2 mm dicke Scheiben geschnitten

1 japanische Aubergine (ca. 130 g), in 2 mm dicke Scheiben geschnitten1 kleiner gelber Kürbis (ca. 130 g), in 2 mm dicke Scheiben geschnitten

4 Roma-Tomaten, in 2 mm dicke Scheiben geschnitten

½ TL sehr fein gehackten Knoblauch2 TL Ölivenöl

1/8 TL ThymianblätterSalz (Fleur de Sel) und frisch gemahlener schwarzer Pfeffer aus der Mühle

Vinaigrette: 1 EL Olivenöl, extra vergine

1 EL Balsamico Essiggemischte

frische Kräuter (Thymian-Blüten & -blätter, Kerbel)

Salz und frisch gemahlener schwarzer Pfeffer

Zum Zubereiten der Piperade den Ofen auf 230 °C vorheizen. Paprikahälften mit der Innenseite nach unten zeigend auf Backpapier legen. Nach ca. 15 min wirft die Haut Blasen, abkühlen lassen und Haut entfernen. Paprikahälften fein hacken.2.Olivenöl, Knoblauch und Zwiebeln vermengen und in einen mittelgroßen Stieltopf bei geringer Hitze ca. 8 Minuten glasieren, ohne dass die Zutaten braun werden. Tomaten und Tomatensaft, Thymian, Petersilie und Lorbeer zugeben und bei schwacher Hitze etwa 10 Minuten ziehen lassen, bis die Flüssigkeit fast verdunstet ist. Darauf achten, dass die Zutaten nicht braun werden.
Paprika zugeben und weiterköcheln lassen, bis sie etwas weicher ist. Mit Salz und Kräutern (die Blätter vorher von den
Zweigen streifen) abschmecken. 1 EL der Piperade abnehmen, den Rest in eine feuerfeste Pfanne (20 cm Durchmesser) geben.
Zum Zubereiten des Gemüses den Ofen auf 135 °C vorheizen. Abwechselnd je eine Scheibe Zucchini, Aubergine, Kürbis und Tomate aufeinanderschichten, das Ganze einmal wiederholen, so dass ein kleiner1.Gemüseturm entsteht. Diesen Gemüseturm in der Pfannenmitte auseinanderziehen. Um den Mittelstapel die überlappenden Stapel so anordnen, dass sie einen kleinen Hügel bilden. So lange wiederholen, bis die Form gefüllt ist. Dabei sollte jeweils ½ cm eines jeden ausgelegten Gemüseturms sichtbar bleiben. Es kann ein Rest Gemüse übrig bleiben.
Olivenöl, Knoblauch und Thymianblätter in einer Schüssel vermengen, mit Salz und Pfeffer würzen und das Gemüse damit benetzen. Die Pfanne mit Alu- oder Backfolie sorgfältig abdecken und ca. 2 Stunden im Ofen garen. Mit einem scharfen Schälmesser prüfen, ob das Gemüse weich ist. Wenn es sich weich anfühlt, die Folie entfernen und 30 Minuten ohne Abdeckung weiterbacken (bei unerwünschter Bräunung die Pfanne wieder leicht abdecken). Die Pfanne gegebenenfalls bei mittlerer Hitze auf den Herd stellen, um überschüssige Flüssigkeit zu verdunsten. (Die Masse kann nun abgekühlt werden lassen und abgedeckt bis zu 2 Tage im Kühlschrank gelagert werden. Kalt servieren oder vorab bei 175 °C erwärmen.

Zum Zubereiten der Vinaigrette die restliche Piperade mit Olivenöl, Balsamico Essig und Kräutern in einer Schüssel vermengen und mit Salz und Pfeffer abschmecken.

Vor dem Servieren: Grillfunktion des Ofens einschalten und die Pfanne darunterschieben, bis die Oberfläche des geschichteten Ofengemüses leicht gebräunt ist, danach vierteln und vorsichtig mit einem Bratenheber auf einen Teller geben. Den Bratenheber um 90 ° drehen und das Confit Byaldi so in eine fächerartige Form zu bringen. Den Tellerrand mit Vinaigrette besprenkeln et bon appetit!!!