Mexican Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Ratatouille Confit Byaldi

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Piperade sauce,  perfectly cooked vegetables, and a herbal vinaigrette. 

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I don't think I could prepare these vegetables any other way and enjoy them as much.

Let's start with the Piperade sauce. You'll need 

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Olive oil, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, fresh thyme, parsley sprigs. The recipe calls for different colors of peppers. I used all red, they were on sale.  

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I was tempted to use some of the jarred roasted red bell peppers I have in the cupboard but I'm glad I didn't. These little blackened bits add a lot of flavor. 

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After the onion and garlic are cooked until the onions soften but not brown, add the tomatoes, their juices, and the herbs. After this cooks down a bit add the peppers, salt, and pepper and cook until the peppers soften. Take out the herbs. 
My tomatoes weren't very juicy so I had to add a splash of water. Also, don't do what I did and forget to set aside some of the sauce for the vinaigrette. 

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Speaking of which, for the vinaigrette, you'll need olive oil, garlic and I added a pinch of fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. 

Now let's get the vegetables ready. 

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The vegetables needed are tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, yellow squash, and zucchini.  I wasn't going to run all over town looking for Japanese eggplant so I bought the one and only eggplant Smith's had. It was a nice one too. 

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I used the spiralizer for the squash. The one I have slices, peels, and cores. All I had to do was slice down one side of the "slinky" and I had nice even pieces. Easy Peasy

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I used the mandoline for the tomatoes and eggplant. Since the eggplant was so big I had to cut the slices in half and that worked just fine. 

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Spread the piperade in the bottom of an 8" square baking dish and arrange alternating slices of the vegetables over it and sprinkle the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Cover tightly with foil and bake

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Hot out of the oven and it's as delicious as it looks. 

What would I do differently next time you ask?
I would peel the tomatoes for the ratatouille as well as the piperade, and I would peel alternating strips off of the eggplant. 
Have you tried peeling a tomato with a potato peeler? It works a charm, you don't have to go through the boiling water routine. 

I'm posting the original recipe but I'm also including the other recipe I mainly followed from the blog Just As Delish

I strongly encourage you to read through both recipes. The main idea is there, just some little differences. 

Thomas Keller's Ratatouille Confit Byaldi

Ingredients

  • Piperade

    • 1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, divided
    • 1/2 c. finely diced yellow onion
    • 3 tomatoes (about 12 oz.), peeled, seeded and finely diced, juices reserved
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme
    • 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
    • 1/2 bay leaf

    Ratatouille

    • 1 zucchini (4 to 5 oz.) sliced in 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1 Japanese eggplant (4 to 5 oz.), sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1 yellow squash (4 to 5 oz. ), sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1/8 tsp. dried thyme leaves
    • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Directions

    Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the peppers cut side down on a foil-lined sheet. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.
    Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juices, fresh 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 1 tablespoon of the mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

    Reduce the heat in the oven to 275 degrees.

    Down the center of the skillet arrange a strip of alternating slices of zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash and Roma tomatoes, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap the vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled.
    Mix 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the vegetables.
    Cover pan with foil and seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.

    For the final topping combine the reserved tablespoon of sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Drizzle around plate. Serve hot.

And that's that!

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