Remember when the food critic, Anton Ego, reviews the restaurant the young Linguini has just taken over in the movie Ratatouille? Anton, who looks like a geeky Count Dracula, is served ratatouille. His first reaction is to dismiss it as peasant dish, but after the first bite he’s overcome with childhood memories. Ego has a jell-o moment. The movie hints that restaurant critics are in fact human beings and not blood-sucking creatures, but it’s all a fiction of course – they do suck big-time in real life… err.. blood, I mean they do suck blood.
err.. I meant my blog!.. My blog suck! I’m a blog sucker!!.. eh? O..Okay? Don’t review my blog pleaase!
So what exactly is the ratatouille conspiracy?
If you pay close attention you’ll notice the dish prepared in the movie is really a Bayaldi and not a ratatouille. The sliced vegetables over the piperade gently ‘confit’ in the oven in olive oil and herbs is a dish called Bayaldi and was invented by Michel Guerard in the 70’s. Thomas Keller later adapted the recipe and you can find his version of ‘Confit Biyaldi’ here. Let me show you the difference.
For the Biyaldi, a pipérade is made of peeled and finely chopped bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. The piperade is spread in a baking dish, then layered on top with thinly-sliced rounds of zucchini, yellow squash, Japanese eggplant, and roma tomatoes, covered in parchment paper, then baked slowly for several hours to steam the vegetables.
A ratatouille has the same basic ingredients but the vegetables are diced and sauteed first individually in olive oil, garlic and herbs then covered with parchment paper and stewed together in an oven at 350’F for about an hour.
The parchment paper is removed from the top of the ‘confit Biyaldi’ so that the vegetables may be roasted. Once it’s done it looks like this…
Once you remove the parchment from the ratatouille it looks like this… Not the same thing, huh? A ratatouille is every bit as delicious but more rustic…
The Biyaldi is then portioned and a balsamic vinaigrette with herbs and piperade is drizzled on the plate around it. That my friends, is the exact dish that leave food critic Anton Ego speechless. SO STOP CALLING IT RATATOUILLE, DAMNED!! I DEMAND THAT THE MOVIE BE RENAMED BIYALDI!!
Both ratatouille and confit biyaldi improve with age so it’s wise to make it a day ahead and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.
Ahhh, i’m feeling much better after all this ranting. Cheers!
A quick note on wine from our expert Kirstin over at Vin de la Table:
“First, Biyaldi, because elegantly arranged vegetable dishes are the royalty of the summer vegetable world, and instinctively go before loosely tossed peasant dishes. With Biyaldi, I’d go for something fresh, mineral, and high-acidity that would fare well with the layered, clean, summery nature of the dish. A lemony Prosecco or Cava would be perfect, as would a lean Vernaccia from Tuscany. Although Ratatouille would be just as delicious with the aforementioned whites as would Biyaldi, I for some reason want to enjoy it with a red, like a Northern Italian wine that aches for tomatoes, like a Barbera, Lagrein, or a rustic, light Tempranillo. Farewell, and long live Biyaldi, the cellar mouse.”
Don’t forget to visit her blog!