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Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Perfect Ratatouille

What is a recipe doing on a spinning blog? Well, so many people asked for the recipe to the dish that Deb brought to guild yesterday that we decided to print it here on the blog. As you can see, this recipe is a labor of love - that must be why is was so delicious. Also, as you can see, we did everything but lick the dish. Thanks to Debra Lacy for sharing the recipe with us.

For piperade
½ red pepper
½ yellow pepper
½ orange pepper
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved
1 sprig thyme
flat-leaf parsley
½ a bay leaf

For vegetables
1 courgette [zucchini], thinly sliced
1 aubergine [eggplant, preferably Japanese] thinly sliced
1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
4 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ tsp minced garlic
2 tsps olive oil
Pinch thyme
Salt and pepper

For vinaigrette:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Assorted fresh herbs (chervil, thyme)
salt and pepper

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.

Combine oil, garlic and onion in medium skillet and 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.

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 ¼ 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.

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.)

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

To serve, heat broiler and place underneath until lightly browned. Drizzle vinaigrette around top.

Adapted and edited from Confit Byaldi, by Thomas Keller, chef and owner of French Laundry restaurant. He was the consultant chef on the movie Ratatouille.

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