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February 21st, 2009

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05:41 pm
To kick things off, the most difficult and time-consuming thing I've ever made? Confit byaldi. This delicious dish might be familiar to you if you've ever seen the movie Ratatouille. When the animators were making the movie, they commissioned Thomas Keller to create a real dish for them to film. In the end, Keller made the mouth-watering variation on traditional ratatouille that Remy makes at the very end of the movie.

The New York Times published the recipe...and away I went!

First and foremost, here is the recipe for the marvelous concoction I made that day:

Recipe: Confit Byaldi

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
1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oi
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 byaldi 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

Doesn't sound that bad, right? Well, the devil's in the details. If you'll please remember, Remy had this nifty little blade majigger. I later learned that it's called a mandoline. It makes slices quickly. On the other hand, slicing up vegetables that thinly by hand? Difficult.

These vegetables ended up taking me a couple hours to cut. Tomatoes really don't like being shaved down. I was able to use a potato peeler on the squash and zucchini, though!

After that, it was time for the piperade. The peppers ended up being much easier to work with than I expected, and the piperade didn't take long at all.

Then all I had to do was stack them...

And cook them! For an incredibly long time. But the end result was GORGEOUS.

In the end, I realized that I'd really cut up way too many vegetables. Oh well. At least there was plenty to snack on?

Finally, after a long day of cooking, I put the side dish (!!) on the table to cool. Unfortunately my family ate half of it while my back was turned, so I never got to stack it. :( Oh well. At least that means it was tasty!


Current Mood: contentcontent

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
Oh good lord that looks so good.

I wish I had the patience to make nice fan foods. I even choose not to heat things in the microwave up because it'll take too long.
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2009 01:08 am (UTC)
It tastes even better than it looks, I promise.

I don't do it often...but when I do it, I tend to really do it. XD

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