11/02/2007

Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi) - [Cooking]

(Pictures for this recipe taken with my Canon Rebel XTi.

Ton-Ton's Journey: Vancouver 2007 will continue on Monday, November 5th, 2007.)




Nippy weather calls for something hearty to warm both body and soul. Here in Southern California, we're blessed with long growing seasons and an abundance of delightfully fresh produce. Ratatouille, originally a rustic French summer dish of stewed vegetables, is perfect for combating the autumn chill.



Like most foodies, I was an instant fan of the Disney Pixar film Ratatouille. The schmaltzy life-lessons for children aside, the attention to every cooking detail fascinated me. Famed chef Thomas Keller created a special version of the classic confit byaldi, a reinterpretation of ratatouille invented by French chef Michel Guérard in the '70s, just for the movie. To this day, Pixar's mouth-watering depiction of the dish is still a topic of conversation amongst food aficionados.



Inspired, I decided to try my own hand at making confit byaldi. I researched a number of ratatouille and confit byaldi recipes, including the recipe from the film. After playing around with the ingredients, temperature, and cooking times, I created this recipe for my perfect confit byaldi. I'm no Thomas Keller, but this is my favorite way of making ratatouille. Enjoy!

Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi)


Gear:

1 chef's knife, Santouku knife, or Chinese cleaver
1 cutting board
1 mixing bowl
1 large frying pan or sauté pan with fitted lid
1 spatula
1 blender or food processor
1 fine mesh sieve
1 12-inch casserole dish or 8x8-inch baking dish with at least 1 inch sides
1 BBQ lighter or long match



Ingredients:

2 cups of dry red wine
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium Japanese eggplant (aubergine)
1 medium carrot
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
1 cup roasted bell peppers in oil
1 cup of olives
1 rosemary stalk (approx 1ft.)
1 yellow onion
1 shallot
5-7 cloves of garlic
1 can of whole tomatoes (16oz.)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

(Note: Try to select vegetables that are about 1in. in diameter.)



Prep work:

  1. Wash the vegetables. Dry thoroughly. Slice into 1/4in, thick rounds.

  2. Wash and peel the carrot. Slice into rounds as thinly as possible.

  3. Drain the roasted bell peppers and slice into 1/4in. thick strips.

  4. Drain the olives and pit if necessary. Roughly chop.

  5. Remove and save the tip of the rosemary stalk for garnish. Strip the leaves from the stem and mince the leaves finely. Discard the stem.

  6. Clean and thinly slice the onion and shallot.

  7. In the mixing bowl, finely crush the tomatoes using your hands.

  8. Clean and roughly chop the garlic.


Instructions (Sauce):



Spread the vegetable slices out onto the cutting board. Season both sides of each slice with a little salt and pepper. Make sure you do this before moving on to any other step. Let the vegetables rest on the cutting board until you're ready to use them. Place the oven rack in the middle of your over and heat the oven to 350ºF.



Sautee the onion and shallot slices in one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Cover and let steam until just translucent. Remove lid and add both the garlic and the minced rosemary leaves.



Using medium or medium-low heat, cook the aromatics until they caramelize and turn light brown. Stir often.



Add the olives and roasted bell peppers. Continue cooking until the onion and shallot slices become a rich, golden brown. Stir often and keep an eye on the stove. It's easy to burn the aromatics during this stage.



Raise the heat to medium or medium-high. Immediately deglaze the pan with the red wine. Once the wine comes to a boil, remove from the heat, ignite the surface of the wine with your lighter, then replace on the heat. The flames will fade once most of the alcohol has been burned off. Let the wine reduce until almost gone.



Add the tomato puree and let come to a boil. Drop the heat to medium or medium-low and let simmer until reduced by half.



Remove from heat and let cool. Puree in blender until smooth, then pass through the sieve to remove any woody bits. Set aside.


Instructions (Ratatouille - Confit Byaldi):



Spread a 1/2in. layer of the sauce evenly across the bottom of the casserole dish. Save the remaining sauce for plating, or possibly making another confit byaldi later if you have enough left.



Arrange a single layer of overlapping vegetable rounds across the top of the sauce. You should sink each round about halfway into the sauce. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top.



Roast at 350ºF until the vegetables are tender. Should take about an hour. Some recipes, including Chef Keller's, call for covering the vegetables with parchment or tin foil to prevent browning and cooking at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. I like the extra caramelization the vegetables and sauce get, so I dispense with this step. I compensate by roasting the vegetables for less time under higher heat, preserving the color of the vegetables. You should play with both methods and choose the one that tastes best to you.



Plate in a small pool of the reserved sauce. Garnish with a rosemary sprig. I prefer to make a meal of it as is. However, it's great with grilled or roasted chicken, or on top of pasta.

Serves 2-4.

Good eating!


Read about a similar attempt to reverse engineer Thomas Keller's ratatouille from the movie on Smitten Kitchen.

35 comments:

I had no idea it was so detail intensive. But it seems like it was worth it. Will you make it again?

Speaking of "Ratatouille" (the movie), check out this event I went to a few days ago:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cziebarth/sets/72157602807119564/

Wow, that looks beautiful! If only I had time to cook. :-(

It gives me a great idea, though. I have a friend who loves to cook but whose daughters are picky eaters -- however, she said they loved this movie. I wondered if they could be persuaded to eat the "famous" dish from the movie?!? Hm...

Great running into you at ICH with Cat & the inlaws, btw. Did you try the palak or dhan sak? That mushroom bhaji was even better as leftovers the next day: simple dish, but one of my new favorites. Mmmm...

the pics are beautiful and it looks delicious!!

your pictures are gorgeous! I didn't know a ratatouille used so many ingredients! :-P

Bravo! Ratatouille (the movie) is one of my all time faves. I'll definitely have to try this myself. I like burnt edges too. So kudos on leaving off the foil.

Very labor intensive recipe. Looks like your hard work paid off though.

Looks great, Panda-man! I loved the movie too and have been wondering about this ever since. I think I'll try it out myself. Thanks again!

I saw the movie last month and loved it! I love your recipe and photos too.

Darlene,

It only seems detail intensive. It's actually pretty easy to whip up, and you can make a really big batch if you have a large enough pan.

Christian,

Sweet! Nice pics, Mr. A-List. =)

Joy,

Thanks! It was fun running into you guys as well. Cat's parents have a pretty set menu when they order there. Her mother loves the place. They invite us there every time they come down from LA to see up. Cat and I are planning to make a trip on our own to try some of your recommendations later.

Deb,

Awww... Thanks!

Lyrical Lemongrass,

Some versions use even more herbs, if you can believe it. =b

Elmo,

Thanks, buddy.

Vegasbuff,

It only looks like it took a lot of work. It's really very easy.

Hey Dangerousnerd,

Email me! I lost your contact info.

Christine,

I really liked it too, although Cat and I agreed that it might have been better as a silent film. =b

- Chubbypanda

I made this last night and we all absolutely loved it. While cooking I had a few questions, such as when is the garlic added in? I assumed it should go in with the aromatics. What type of olives? I ended up using 3/4 kalamata and 1/4 green. The sauce turned out wonderful and next time I will double the recipe and freeze some. I can think of so many other uses for it (on top of baguette toasted with cheese, baked over chicken, etc., etc. Thanks for the great recipe!

njasprt,

Nice catch! The garlic should go in with the rosemary. I've added that step into the instructions. Thanks for noticing it was missing.

I prefer to go with all green olives, since I enjoy their sharper, grassy flavor. However, I've had success using other olives including Kalamata, which adds a dark earthiness to the sauce. It's really up to you. Most recipes are only guidelines to be adapted. Only you know what flavors suit you and your family the best. =)

I'm very happy that you enjoyed my ratatouille. Thank you so much for commenting.

- Chubbypanda

can you slice the vegtables a little thinner or do they have to be that thick...

Anon,

Yes, but keep an eye during baking. The thickness/thinness of the vegetables will affect cooking time. If the vegetables are too thin, they'll cook down into mush if left in for too long.

- CP

Hi, I found your recipe by following the pictures, and made it the other night. I did have a bit of trouble, and was hoping for your advice. I couldn't get the wine to light on fire. I ended up reducing it for awhile, and it turned out very tasty in the end, but I'm hoping for some tips for the next time I make it. Thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes! :)

Michelle,

The higher the cooking heat you use, the easier it will be to light the wine. The liquid should still be bubbling briskly when you apply the flame. Also, most of the wine vapors will escape from the outer edges of the sauce. Lighting there, as opposed to the center, will increase the odds of success.

However, lighting the wine isn't required for this dish. What lighting the wine does is insure more of the alcohol is burned off. If you prefer to simmer the sauce for longer at a lower heat without lighting, you should still end up cooking out most of the alcohol.

The alcohol in the wine helps to pull out flavorful components in the tomatoes and aromatics that are alcohol soluble, so a longer cooking time over lower heat without flaming may actually result in a more flavorful result.

Hope this helps!

- CP

Made this tonight for dinner....Loved it! Only put in 1/4 of the olives and it was still a bit salty for my taste, but other than that...divine! Especially the presentation, much more beautiful than other recipes out there! Thanks for the beautiful step by step. Next time I think I'll pack the veges a little tighter, so I can have more! :)

Traci,

Glad you enjoyed it. The amount of olives to add should vary based on the saltiness of the types of olive being used and also personal preference. I hope you find the right balance! =)

- CP

hi there my name is malcolom. i have tried making your ratatouille but the wine i used didnt ignite. i was wondering if you could tell me which wine you used?
my email is malcolm_p@windowslive.com thanks.

Malcolm,

The wine used in the pictures for this recipe was Epicuro's Salice Salentino.

http://artisanwine.blogspot.com/2008/07/epicuro-salice-salentino-2003.html

However, I usually use whatever dry red wine strikes my fancy at the time. I've never had a problem getting any of them to ignite using the method described in the recipe, unless it's a wine with a lower alcohol content.

However, you're not the only reader who's written to me about this issue. Please see my comment to Michelle for tips on getting the wine to ignite. As I mentioned to her, igniting the wine isn't necessary to making the sauce. You should still have a pretty tasty result in the end, even if the wine doesn't ignite.


Best of luck!

- CP

I am having a dinner party tomorrow night and I was going to make the Ratatouille today. Should I bake it for a little while or all the way and then pop it back in the over to finish cooking or warm tomorrow night before serving it? Will it make a difference in the flavors and textures if it sits in the fridge for a day?
Any suggestions?
Thanks
ACFCD

Hey, thanks for this... I'm trying to cook up the recipe for my daughter right now :)

BTW, I clicked on the lower pic of the final dish and Norton reported the following problem...

Viruses (what's this?)
Threats found: 1
Here is a complete list:

Threat Name: Downloader
Location: http://pics.livejournal.com/hanominous/pic/0000pebz

It appears there may be an issue you'll want to address, or perhaps Norton is wrong ... don't know, but thought u should know.

thanks for the great, detailed descriptions and photos!! :)

dvc

Hello, I just happen to doing some googleling in search of this recipe and your discription is by far the best I have seen. I have seen the movie 5 x's, (If you count watching it the other night with my granddaughter). I would like to know, however, if there is something else I can use in place of the wine and get the same consistency.
Thanks for the detailed pictures.

AnnamarieCFCD,

Whoops. This reply is a bit late, but here goes. I'd bake it ahead of time and warm it in the oven. If you prep the ratatouille ahead of time but don't cook it, the salt in the sauce will pull out moisture from the vegetables and may make the final product wetter than you'd like.

Anonymous,

Thanks for letting me know. I've tried to reproduce the issue, but I haven't been able to. The image links appear to be functioning correctly.

happy person,

You can leave out the wine entirely if you like. The main drawback will be that certain alcohol soluble flavors in the tomatoes and other aromatics won't be developed. The tannins and subtle sweetness of wine will be missing as well.

I'd suggest replacing the 2 cups of wine with a 1/2 cup of pomegranate juice (preferably the kind without any extra sweeteners) and 1-1/2 cups of low sodium vegetable or chicken broth. It won't be quite the same, but the finished product should still be tasty.

- CP

Made this recipe for a dinner party. It was absolutely delicious!!! I would definitely make this again and again. Somewhere between the grocery store and my car I lost my red peppers, and I used a mixture of Kalamata olives and Sicilian green olives. I also doubled the sauce and froze it. This way I can make it again with out all the waiting. Although I would recommend quadrupling it and freezing it in batches. Thanks for the great recipe!!

This is an awesome recipe and am glad i found it. Am gonna try it on my husbands birthday.
Cheers

great recipies i will definetelly try some.

Is the some recipe like the animation one?

Oh look at this post mouth and flowing ... Very cool all written and beautiful pictures. Insanely glad I stumbled on your blog!

Good and healthy way of cooking vegetables. I love it.

I just made your recipe tonight and it was great! It was the tastiest version of ratatouille I've ever tried. I also couldn't get the wine to light, but I just kept on going and the taste was just fine. I used black olives because they were the only ones I had handy (the horror). I have enough leftover sauce to make the dish again on Sunday for my Dad! Thanks.

I made this last night and it was so delicious! I doubled the recipe to make sure I had enough food and there was nothing left at the end of the night, everyone had at least two helpings. Thanks for the great recipe!

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d149/bowiebaby/Food024.jpg

I made this last night and it was so delicious! I doubled the recipe to make sure I would have enought for everyone and by the end of the night it was all gone, everyone had several helpings :) Thanks for the great recipe!

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d149/bowiebaby/Food024.jpg

thank you so much for the easy steps i made this dish today for lunch and it came out so good. my son kenneth has been asking for me to make this dish since we have seen the movie and im glad i did we all loved it.

This recipe was delicious!! Thank you Chubby panda!! I actually served it over some parmesean polenta to soak up the extra sauce. YUMM