Confit Byaldi (or Remy's Ratatouille)
Recipe adapted from Thomas Keller ( food consultant to the movie ).
Start to finish: 3 1/2 hours, 1 hour active. Note that you'll need an oven-proof skillet.
For the piperade (bottom layer):
1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed 1/2 orange bell 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 fresh thyme 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley 1/2 a bay leaf Kosher salt
For the vegetables:
1 medium zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16-inch-thick rounds 1 Japanese eggplant (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch-thick rounds 1 yellow (summer) squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch-thick rounds 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-inch-thick rounds 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar Assorted fresh herbs (such as thyme flowers, chervil, thyme) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the piperade, preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place pepper halves on the baking sheet, cut side down. Roast until the skins loosen, about 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees.
Peel the peppers and discard the skins. Finely chop the peppers and then set aside.
In medium skillet over low heat, combine oil, garlic and onion. Saute until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until very soft and little liquid remains, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
Add the peppers and simmer to soften them. Discard the herbs and then season to taste with salt.
Reserve a tablespoon of the mixture; spread the remainder over the bottom of an 8-inch oven-proof skillet.
To prepare the vegetables, you will arrange the sliced zucchini, eggplant, squash and tomatoes over the piperade in the skillet.
Begin by arranging 8 alternating slices of vegetables down the center, overlapping them so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. This will be the center of the spiral. Around the center strip, overlap the vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. All vegetables may not be needed. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the garlic, oil and thyme, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle this over vegetables.
Cover the skillet with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until the vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.)
If there is excess liquid in pan, place it 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.)
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, heat the broiler and place skillet under it until lightly browned. Slice in quarters and lift very carefully onto plate with an offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees as you set the food down, gently fanning the food into fan shape. Drizzle the vinaigrette around plate.
Makes 4 servings