Monday, June 30, 2008

Recipes to Rival's Debut Challenge: Ratatouille

Lori of Lipsmacking Goodness and Temperance of High on the Hog created a splinter group of the Daring Bakers to feature savory dishes once a month called Recipes to Rival (heretofore to be referred to as R2R.) I jumped at the chance to join this group because I want a chance to improve my cooking skills.  I'm the baker in the house, and P does the heavy duty cooking.  

The inaugural challenge for this group was picked to be Ratatouille.  And not just any version of the summer-y provencale dish, but the Ratatouille developed by Thomas Keller for the movie of the same name.  Awesome!

I had to get out our mandoline (which I have had for years but have never used before myself) for this recipe with it really looks beautiful with all the uniformity. The steps aren't difficult, but are more labor intensive then your standard chop-and-stew version.

I'll admit one cheat: I didn't peel the tomatoes as instructed for the piperade.  it didn't suffer any because of it!  Another tip, slice half of the veggies, lay them out, and then slice more if you need.  We had a lot leftover.  I made a full recipe of the piperade though, and used it all. I also didn't bother with the vinagrette and ate it straight from the oven. 

P and I wolfed down the whole pan for dinner last week with some couscous.  Yum!

Ratatouille or Confit Biyadi


1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed

1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed

1/2 orange 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 thyme

1 sprig flat-leaf parsley

1/2 a bay leaf

Kosher salt

1 zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16-inch rounds
 1 Japanese eggplant, (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
 1 yellow squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds 
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
1/8teaspoon thyme leaves 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. For piperade, heat oven to 450 degrees. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. 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 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs. Reserve tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

3. For vegetables, heat oven to 275 degrees. Down center of pan, arrange a strip of 8 alternating slices of vegetables over 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.

4. 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 for 30 minutes more. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If there is excess liquid in 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-degree oven until warm.)

5. For vinaigrette, combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

6. To serve, heat broiler and place ratatouille underneath until lightly browned. Slice in quarters and very carefully lift onto plate with offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees, guiding byaldi into fan shape. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings 


Temperance said...

I didn't eat it straight from the pan but I kept sneaking bites while I was getting ready to broil and serve it. I was very tempted to eat the whole thing though.

Great job!

Christine said...

I served mine with couscous and goat cheese and it was delicious! Great job and I am glad that you enjoyed it!

Heather B said...

I didn't peel my tomatoes either. I didnt notice! Great job! Yours lois delicious!

Robyn said...

I thought it was delicious too and couldn't wait to eat it! I also had a lot left over, so I just made more Ratatouille the next day!

Debyi said...

I didn't peel my tomatoes either. We ate ours on its own for lunch and then finished it up for dinner the next day with some pasta. This one was fun to make and delicious!

yarnbeast said...

I will knit you anything in the world you want in exchange for a serving of that. We'll talk.

Dolores said...

It's funny... I tend to think of myself of more of a cook than a baker, but this one scared me far more than the braid. And I also had a hard time not eating it straight out of the pan. And not eating it all as a single serving.

Clara said...

Personally, I highly recommend trying the extra-virgin olive oil from
Holy Food Imports.
It is imported to the US from Israel, and it is produced using cold presses,
as was the method over 3,000 years ago; so it has a really unique taste to it.

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