Ratatouille is the perfect summer dish.
And Disney Pixar's interpretation of the movie's namesake is as beautiful as it is tasty. What's interesting is that the movie's dish isn't quite ratatouille. It's prepared similarly to a rustic tian provençal from the same region, but the design was conceived by Thomas Keller specifically for the movie.
Combine shingled eggplant, squash, zucchini and tomato over a homemade sauce Basquaise, and Confit Byaldi is born!
First, to make the sauce Basquaise (which will be the base), sauté in a medium saucepan:
2 yellow, orange or red roasted* bell peppers, sliced thinly
1/2 white or sweet onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock (veg substitution: vegetable stock)
Add 2 medium tomatoes, peeled. Simmer for 5 minutes, then, add:
white or black pepper
2 tsp herbs de Provence by s.a.l.t. sisters (substitution: herbs of a bouquet garni, like a few sprigs rosemary and thyme)
healthy splash dry white wine, optional
Remove to blender and puree for 1 minute. Pour about 1/2" layer of sauce in your baking dish or 9" pie plate.
Then, shingle the following ingredients in concentric circles inside the pie plate or baking dish, on top of the sauce base:
3 plum/roma tomatoes, sliced very thinly
1 large zucchini, sliced very thinly
1 thin eggplant, sliced very thinly
1 yellow squash, sliced very thinly
On top before baking, sprinkle and drizzle:
2 tablespoons olive oil
white or black pepper
1 tsp herbs de Provence (substitution: herbs of a bouquet garni, or a few sprigs rosemary and thyme)
Roast covered, with foil or parchment, at 375° F for 35-45 minutes. Then, remove the parchment/ foil and continue roasting uncovered for 15 minutes. Total roast time: 50-60 minutes.
While the dish is in the oven, make the Shallot Vinaigrette accompaniment. In a small sauté pan, cook until translucent:
1/2 shallot, shaved
1/3 cup olive oil
Then, pulse several times in a blender with 3 tbsp sherry vinegar** until emulsified.
To plate the dish, center a circular food ring or cookie cutter on a plate. and coil the vegetables inside the food ring, mimicking the swirl of soft service ice cream. Remove food ring. Spoon a drizzle of shallot vinaigrette, encircling the star of the show. Garnish with parsley and blades of chives.
*Although this can be made without roasting bell pepper, it lends a smokiness and earthiness to this sauce that really makes it next level. To roast a pepper, cut it in half (cored/ seeded) and place under the broiler until it starts to bubble and blacken all over. Or, grill the peppers util blackened. Place immediately in a large ziploc bag and seal. This will steam the peppers. When a little cooler, the skin will peel right off. Peel off the skin, pat dry and use immediately, OR store between layers of parchment and freeze.
Fun fact: If you're roasting hot peppers like anaheim or hatch chile and want the heat to grow spicier, leave the seeds inside when storing and freezing. You can make them in big batches and freeze for up to 6 months. They will "age" (i.e., grow hotter and spicier with the seeds left inside) as time goes on.
**Substitution: red wine vinegar
N.B. The above-mentioned products or companies are what I actually use in my kitchen, and have personally been happy with their quality and performance. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.