Blooming

As you may have noticed, the blog is undergoing an expansion of sorts. I’ve added a number of tabs menu of fun pages at the top to be expanded upon as time allows. Check out the recipes, eating seasonally 101, inspiration, and the book tabs; I have added some content to those already.

I made ratatouille this week; the recipe is the one used to create the animated version Remy cooked in the Pixar film Ratatouille. It is so absolutely delicious, it’s worth the time needed to create it. Almost all of the vegetables for the recipe are in season here right now, and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons it was so scrumptious. I say “was”, because it has disappeared from the house already, scarfed down by Husband and The Boy. Do yourself and your family a favor, and take the time to make this dish.

All assembled and ready for the oven

Confit Byaldi (from The New York Times, courtesy Thomas Keller, chef and owner of The French Laundry, a restaurant in Yountville, CA)

Piperade: (sauce base for dish)
1/2 red pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper, and 1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed from each
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 C finely diced yellow onion
3 tomatoes (about 12 oz total weight), peeled, seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
1/2 a bay leaf
Kosher salt

Vegetables:
1 4-5 oz zucchini
1 4-5 oz Japanese eggplant
1 4-5 oz yellow squash
4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette:
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme; all I ever have on hand is thyme, it’s fine that way)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For piperade:
1. Heat oven to 450 deg. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 min. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.

2. Combine oil, garlic, and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 min. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 min., do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs. Reserve 1 T of liquid from mixture, and spread remainder of sauce in bottom of an 8-inch skillet that can be put under the broiler.

For vegetables:
1. Heat oven to 275 deg. Slice squashes, eggplant, and tomatoes into 1/16 inch slices. (If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, this is tricky. But 1/8 inch-1/4 inch slices will be fine, which can be accomplished with a good sharp knife.)

2. Down the center of your skillet, arrange a strip of 8 alternating slices of vegetables over the piperade, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed. (They are tasty tossed in a pan with a bit of oil, salt and pepper.)

3. Mix garlic, oil, and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover pan with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake 30 min. more. If there is excess liquid in the pan, place 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-deg. oven until warm.)

For vinaigrette:
1. Combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

To serve:
Heat broiler and place byaldi underneath until lightly browned. (I never do this. It’s still delicious. Just sayin’.) Slice in quarters and very carefully lift onto plate with offset spatula. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings

Now that you’ve dutifully read the whole recipe, you’d like to be rewarded with pictures of the finished plated product, wouldn’t you? Well, slacker that I am, I didn’t photograph the finshed plated product, mostly because I was hungry. I will make it again, and I will photograph the end result next time. Promise. If you Google “Confit Byaldi”, believe me, you will get all kinds of looks at this dish. In addition, I have blogged about this dish before. Search my archives for “Anyone Can Cook”. And before you make it, rent “Ratatouille” and watch Remy make it, and watch Anton eat it. It’s a soulful, comforting dish. Make it and serve it with love.

Advertisements

5 comments

Comments? Thoughts? Share them here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s