This is the dish that saved a restaurant and you know what it is?
Vegetables. A plate of plain ole vegetables saved a restaurant and
brought a food critic back to his childhood. Guess mom was
right….it is important to eat your veggies. Truth be told I always
thought ratatouille was a meat dish so imagine my surprise when I
found out it actually consisted of zucchini, squash, eggplant, and tomatoes.
All of which are vegetables I do not like. *sigh* Picky eater syndrome is a
real battle some days. Lol However, this cooking challenge is not just about
me trying to learn how to cook, but also to try and push myself out of my
comfort zone and try new things so I made the dish. And I ate it. A whole
plate. And you know what? It actually wasn’t half bad. Lol Honestly, the best
part of the whole dish was the roasted red pepper and tomato sauce.
Without that sauce I don’t think I would have been able to make it past
the first bite because it really did a great job of covering up the taste
(or lack thereof) of the other veggies. Personally I don’t think this
is a meal I would prepare to try and save my restaurant and it definitely
didn’t bring me back to my childhood days, but it was a surprisingly good dish.*
*Now I did have someone who actually does like all of these veggies
try it so you guys can have a more informed review of the dish. He said
that he enjoyed it, but felt it was more of a side dish rather than a main
dish. It was lacking meat and would probably be good paired with sausage.
Confit Byaldi Recipe (Note: This recipe serves 4-6 people and since
I was only feeding myself I halved it.)
6 large plum tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, half left whole, half finely chopped
1 garlic clove
½ small onion
½ cup vegetable stock (I didn’t have any and just used a little chicken broth instead)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium Japanese eggplants, sliced crosswise ⅛ inch thick on a mandoline
2 medium yellow squash, sliced crosswise ⅛ inch thick on a mandoline
2 medium zucchini, sliced crosswise ⅛ inch thick on a mandoline
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 fresh parsley leaves, torn
4-6 small fresh chives, for garnish
1.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and
water. Score a small X into the bottom of 4 of the plum tomatoes
and carefully lower them into the boiling water. Blanch for less
than 1 minute, until the X just begins to split up the sides of the
tomatoes. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the tomatoes
to the ice bath to stop cooking. Drain, peel, and set aside.
2.) Char the bell peppers directly on the burner of a gas stovetop set
to high, turning them frequently with the tongs, until blackened
all over.* Remove from the heat and cover with aluminum foil. Let the
peppers steam and soften for about 5 minutes. Peel off and discard
the skins and transfer the peppers to a high-powered blender or food
processor. Add the 2 remaining tomatoes, the whole rosemary
leaves, thyme leaves, garlic, onion, stock, ½ cup water, and 1 Tbsp of
the olive oil. Blend on high speed until the roast pepper
puree is completely smooth.
*If you are like me and do not have a gas stovetop you can roast
your peppers in the oven. I set my oven at a temperature of 450 degrees
F and left the peppers in there for about 20 minutes or until their skin started to blacken.
3.) Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4.) Using a very sharp knife, slice the blanched tomatoes ⅛ inch thick
and transfer to the lined baking sheet. In a shallow roaster or 9 x 13 inch
baking dish, pour a thin layer of the roast pepper puree and spread it evenly.
Shingle the sliced vegetables on top of the puree, slightly overlapping 1
slice each of eggplant, tomato, yellow squash, and zucchini. Continue the
pattern around the edge of the baking dish toward the center, packing
the vegetables tightly until the dish is completely filled. Sprinkle the chopped
rosemary leaves, 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, the salt, and the black pepper over
the top. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of the baking dish and
place indirectly on top of the vegetables. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, remove
the parchment paper, then bake for 20 minutes more, or until the vegetables
are completely softened but still hold their shape. Remove the
confit byaldi from the oven.
5.) For each serving, place a 3-inch ring mold (or cookie cutter in my case)
in the center of a large plate. Fill the ring mold with 1 layer of vegetables
stacked vertically. Top that layer with another layer of vegetables fanned
out horizontally. Carefully remove the ring mold to reveal a confit byaldi
tower. Whisk together 1 Tbsp of the roasted pepper puree from the bottom
of the baking dish with the remaining olive oil and drizzle it in a circle around
the tower on each plate. Garnish with some torn parsley and a single chive, and serve