>> Monday, August 24, 2009
When the DVD for the Disney movie Ratatouille came out, a few friends and I thought it would be fun to make the dish from the movie. In the DVD, Thomas Keller explains how to make Confit Biyaldi, the inspiration for Remy's ratatouille dish that made him famous.
When we finally sat down to eat at around 9 PM that evening (3 HOURS later!), we were exhausted and famished. The complex recipe included things such as roasting and chopping your own peppers, sauteing your own piperade, and tenderly slow-baking the dish for another 2 1/2 hours.
The dish tasted fantastic but definitely took a lot of man-hours! I have modified the recipe and created a much simpler version that is still surprisingly delicious but significantly easier to make.
In the original recipe by Thomas Keller, the beautiful layers of eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes are layered over a piperade that consists of roasted red peppers and tomatoes. I simplified the recipe by layering the vegetables over a bed of sofregit. I further simplified the original sofregit recipe by replacing the 5 fresh tomatoes with a 28-oz can of whole tomatoes. I also left out all the optional ingredients (no peppers and mushrooms), and just made a simple sofregit out of the following ingredients:
28-oz can of whole tomatoes (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
1 T minced garlic (save time by using frozen garlic balls!)
1 Bay leaf
a dash of dried oregano and cuminI probably cooked the sofregit for about 1/2 hour.
Sofregit is something that can be made beforehand and kept in the refrigerator or freezer
You can add other veggies too (e.g., roasted red peppers like Thomas Keller's version)
While the sofregit is cooking, slice the vegetables!
Using a madolin slicer or a really sharp knife, cut the eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes into thin slices (about 1/2 cm). Ideally, all your vegetables would be the same diameter. Japanese eggplants are a good choice, as are Roma tomatoes.
Then begin layering (alternating colors) the slices in circles starting from the outside and working your way to the center.
The finished product should look something like this.
3 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic (I used another frozen garlic ball - I did have to manually mash it a bit since it was a bit frozen)
1 t dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste (around 1/2 t)
Cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees for about an hour. If the dish seems a bit soggy, you can remove the foil covering for the last 15 minutes of baking (I did not do this).
You can serve over various types of "carbs." I tried quinoa, which I thought was delicious. I bet couscous, rice, or even pasta would be really good too. Another option is to serve it as a side with meat. The possibilities are endless!