Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi)


While I was sifting through several ratatouille recipes and methods online this week, I discovered that there are several "correct" ways to make it. Some involve roasting the vegetables separately while others require chopping everything up and making a stew, and others involve layering and slow-roasting the vegetables together. Originally invented by French peasants, ratatouille was designed to be an economical and uncomplicated way to use up all of the late-summer vegetables together in a stew. It was only later that Chef Thomas Keller revamped this concept when he was asked by Pixar to make a fancier version of the dish for the movie, Ratatouille, and named his version "confit byaldi." This version involves placing thinly sliced vegetables accordion style and baking them together in one pan.

Ratatouille is already vegan, so the traditional components don't really need to be adjusted. However, I left out the red pepper and added in oil-cured olives for this version. This tasted great right out of the oven, but was even better the next day, after all of the flavors have had a chance to mingle a bit. Serve it with some bread and red wine for a simple and pretty September dinner.

INGREDIENTS
1 TB olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 TB flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 TB fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup crushed roma tomatoes (I used a prepared version)
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced on a mandoline slicer
1 small squash, sliced on a mandoline slicer
1 small eggplant, sliced on a mandoline slicer

1 tomato, chopped
extra parsley, chopped (for serving)
handful of oil-cured olives, chopped (for serving)

METHOD
Place the olive oil and chopped onion in a small cast-iron pan over low heat. After about 5 minutes, sprinkle it with the thyme, oregano, salt and pepper flakes. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes without stirring. Add in the garlic and stir everything around. Let simmer for about 10 minutes more. Add in the fresh parsley, basil and roma tomato sauce. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes more.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

Remove the pan from the heat and place onto a potholder on your countertop. Distribute the sliced onion onto the bottom.

Place a zucchini slice in the middle, then cover it with a squash slice so only the rind part is showing. Place an eggplant slice on top of that and repeat the process until you've created a spiral design in one long strand around your entire pan. It took me about 20 minutes to get all of the slices placed as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the chopped tomatoes over the top. Place a piece of circular parchment paper on top of the pan, then place a piece of foil over the entire pan. Place into the oven to bake for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove the parchment paper and foil. Increase the oven heat to 400 degrees, then bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and olives.






31 comments:

  1. i love ratatouille! (the food and the movie) this looks so beautiful and tasty! I'll have to make it, but it will be dinner for one, my boyfriend hates veggies :( eh hes just missing out!

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  2. You did an amazing job slicing those vegetables so finely and capturing colors like that! I really like your photo, saw it on FoodGawker.

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  3. i love ratatouille!!! i haven't had it for a while(perhaps a year), and your version looks like the perfect version to make! i love the addition of olives. i'm an olive lover.

    my brother used to make ratatouille in the crockpot with lots of different squash. it was so good, i could eat far too many bowls in one sitting. but since he doesn't write down recipes, i was never able to recreate it. i should ask him to make it for me for old time's sake.

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    1. Thanks Caitlin! I don't know why I have never made this before ... its really good and simple (I loved smelling all of the flavors during the cook time.) Tastes even better the next day!

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  4. is it silly that i refuse to watch that cartoon/movie because it stars rats? i have a fear of rodents and no amount of cute-ing it up will do. it's also the reason why i won't eat ratatouille. i've ventured into the Stupid Realm but it's true. Confit byaldi, however, i would sample and yours is beautiful.

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    1. Lan, Yes, totally silly ... you have to watch Ratatouille! Yes it has rats, but it is such a good underdog(rat?) story, that it doesn't matter. I loved all of the characters and it was a perfect foodie film!

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  5. Oh wow! I love ratatouile but I've never see any that was this pretty. I'll have to try out your method!

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  6. That is the most beautiful ratatouille I have ever seen! Who knew you could make ratatouille look so fancy. I'll definitely use this method in future. Instead of dumping everything into a pot...

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    1. Thanks Mihl! It was really easy, actually kind of relaxing to arrange all of the little pieces this way.

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  7. I adore ratatouille, but have never baked it in the oven before - yours looks divine, so pretty:) I'm on a semi-fasting day today, with only one meal, in about 3 hours and counting! I think I may do something along these lines, thanks for the idea

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    1. Thank you Christine! I hope you enjoy the recipe and good luck with the fast!

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  8. Can't wait to make this, I hope mine looks as beautiful as yours! Stunning, really!

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  9. Wow! This looks utterly gorgeous! You did a great job layering the ingredients, mine never look that good. ha ha This sounds perfect, right about now, especially with olives. Mmmm..

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    1. Thanks Jackie! I loved spiraling these out, kind of meditative. Yes, the olives are really perfect in this dish!

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  10. Almost too beautiful to eat, but too superyumful to pass up! Many thanks!

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  11. Beautiful, and I imagine it was just delicious ! Cheers :)

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  12. Wow this is extremely beautiful! Just found your site and am a new follower, even though I am not a fan of olives ;)

    Definitely want to make this. Thanks.

    The photography throughout your blog is gorgeous!

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  13. I have always wanted to try making it this way since seeing that movie. Yours is so beautifully crafted.

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  14. Mine's in the oven right now and I am VERY excited. :)

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  15. This was soooo good! Thank you for such a delectable recipe :)

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  16. I have made this several times, my family loves it. This is the best ratatouille recipe.

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    1. Sherry, so happy you like this ... thanks for your feedback!

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  17. Thank you for your instructions. I screamed in pure excitement when you said, "Serve it with some bread and red wine for a simple and pretty September dinner," because it just sounds like a perfect night. The only thing that can turn a shit day into a good one is dinner and I can imagine how much this will put me in a good mood! The colour and design looks amazing and I can't wait to taste it. I've always wanted to make it ever since I watched the animation, but I wasn't much of a veggie fan back then and I probably wouldn't have been clever enough to understand the instructions haha. I'm so keen to do this, but I'm scared I might do it wrong and screw the whole dish. Won't bits of parchment paper get stuck in the dish when you put it on top? And when you put it in the fridge, what do you cover it with? Tin foil, glad wrap or doesn't matter? And after you've put it in the fridge over night to eat the next day, would you need to reheat it or can you eat it cold? Also, if I wanted to feed about 10 people, would I just triple the amount of everything?

    Sorry for the 21 questions. It's just that I'm exactly like the food critic in the movie; if I don't like it, I won't swallow. And my tastebuds are weird. I don't eat a lot of food, because most food I come across doesn't taste good. I just don't want to waste my time and money on something that might turn out wrong or bad, because of me, and end up wasting it or not being satisfied from the dish. If only I could have a sample of a taste somewhere. I might do that actually... find somewhere to eat some.

    Thank you!

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    1. Miista, glad you like! The vegetables will sweat a bit, so the parchment wont stick -- it's quite sturdy. Before refrigerating this, you'll need to transfer it out of the cast iron pan and into another container with a lid. I wouldn't recommend eating it cold and yes, this can be tripled easily to feed more folks -- you may need to slightly increase the bake time a bit if there is more volume there.

      I hope you like the dish!

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