medtran49

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This is from Chef Hubert Keller, a Frenchman by birth and cooking style. ETA: This was the best ratatouille I've ever had.

2017-09-25 18.47.29.jpg


INGREDIENTS
3 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
1 large tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
S and P
1/2 cup young, unpeeled, diced zucchini, remove and discard the center part with seeds
1/2 cup young, unpeeled eggplant, diced - try to find one that's slender without the bulbous end
4 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, then chopped

DIRECTIONS
Heat half of the EVOO in a medium nonstick skillet over low heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the red bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomato, garlic, thyme and a good pinch of salt and pepper, cooking for about 8 minutes, stirring fairly frequently. Do not allow anything to brown. Place mixture into a heat safe bowl and wipe out pan. Add 1/2 Tbsp EVOO to pan and sauté zucchini over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, season with S and P. Add to tomato mixture. Add remaining 1 Tbsp if EVOO to pan and sauté eggplant over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Season with S and P. Transfer eggplant pieces to a colander and allow to drain. Add to vegetable mixture. Return entire mixture to pan, sprinkle with fresh basil and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring gently. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

May be served warm or at room temperature.

One of Chef Hubert's favorite ways to serve is an appetizer in egg shells on a platter with a layer of salt so the egg shells will stand upright.

Per 8 large eggs, cut the pointy tops of the shells off with an egg shell cutter or small sharp scissors. Place eggs in a bowl. Rinse the egg shells out and invert on a clean cloth or paper towels to dry.

Place 3/4 tsp EVOO in a skillet over low heat. Beat eggs thoroughly with some S and P, then add to the skillet, cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are thick and creamy. Do not overcook the eggs. Right before serving, stir in 4 large basil leaves, sliced Thinly, then chopped, plus 1 Tbsp of mayonnaise or yogurt.

Fill each egg shell a little over half full with the eggs, then top with the ratatouille. You could also use shot glasses or deep bowl hors d'oeuvre spoons.
 
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Another way Chef Hubert serves ratatouille is wrapped in phyllo with mild goat cheese.

You'll need a ring mold, 3 to 4 inches in size.

Makes 4

4 slices of goat cheese, cut about 1/2 inch thick, and slightly smaller in diameter than your ring mold
Ratatouille as above
8 sheets phyllo dough, 10x15 inches in size, covered with damp cloth
EVOO

Lay a sheet of phyllo out on a work surface, brush with EVOO. Repeat with another sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut into 15 strips, 1 inch wide by 10 inches long. Lightly brush the inside of the ring mold with EVOO.

Lay a strip of phyllo across center of ring mold and push down so it lines the mold. Lay another strip down slightly overlapping the first and continue around until mold is completely lined, around 8 to 10 strips. Fill mold to slightly less than half with ratatouille, lightly press. Place a disk of cheese on top, then fill to top with ratatouille, lightly pressing again. Flip the ends of the phyllo strips over the top to enclose the filling. Remove ring mold by slightly twisting as you pull up.

Wipe off ring mold, re-oil and repeat 3 more times for a total of 4 packages.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Heat an ovenproof skillet large enough to hold all 4 over medium heat. Spray with cooking oil and brown bottoms of packages for about 1 minute, flip so that bottom become top. The end parts of the phyllo strips will now be on the bottom. Bake for 6-8 minutes until phyllo is crisp and golden brown.

Serve with mixed baby greens dressed with a vinaigrette.
 
Looks very good
The second method sounds kinda complicated.
I would rather use rice paper to wrap the Ratatouille.
 
Looks very good
The second method sounds kinda complicated.
I would rather use rice paper to wrap the Ratatouille.

As I wrote, he's a classic French chef. The strips create a striking geometric pattern when cooked. Unfortunately due to copyright laws, I cannot take a picture of the picture in his cookbook of the finished plate, but it's much more visibly appealing to the eye than just wrapping in rice paper or even puff pastry would be.

They even decorated the salt used to stabilize the egg shells on the serving platter. There were carefully placed dots of what looked like carrot and red bell puree interspersed with what looked like capers.
 
This looks like a great recipe, in no small part due to the ease with which it comes together. But, what do you think of the direction to not allow anything to brown? If it were me, everything would be browned. The maillard effect is something I employ in so many things I make. Is this about preserving the original taste of all the components?
 
If it were me, everything would be browned. The maillard effect is something I employ in so many things I make. Is this about preserving the original taste of all the components?

As medtran49 has commented.

The vegetables are never browned for ratatouille nor for quite a lot of other Mediterranean recipes. Yes, its all about retaining the freshness of the taste - light, vibrant and bright tasting dishes.
 
At some stage in my life, I followed a recipe for ratatouille in which the vegetables were all cooked separately, then united at the end. Must have been French.
I don't brown them because this is more of a stew where you can savour the tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and peppers one by one, even though they're united.
 
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