After having ratatouille at a French restaurant recently, I couldn’t help thinking about how the ratatouille in the movie of the same name, prepared by our culinary hero Remy the rat, looked so much more appetising.
I decided to try preparing a ratatouille in the very untraditional way that Remy did.
This dish is mostly composed of vegetables which are normally cooked quite quickly. Here though, they are baked at a low heat for 2 1/2 hours. This imparts a wonderful sweet deliciousness, the effect of which is captured perfectly in Anton Ego’s face in the movie.
The obvious difference between the dish in the movie and this recipe is the polenta waffle. I wanted to add a bit texture contrast and volume to the dish so that it would easily stand alone as a main. The polenta waffle added both… crunchy crust, creamy interior, and enough volume to ensure satisfaction. A salad on the side does work as well.
Remy’s Ratatouille on a polenta waffle
The next 5 vegetables should be of a consistent diameter
- 1 long green zucchini
- 1 long yellow zucchini
- 1 long eggplant
- 2 each red and orange peppers
- 4 long tomatoes
- 1 Onion
- 1 red pepper for the sauce
- 3 round fleshy tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dried polenta
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 40 g butter
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 5 cloves garlic finely diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1 pinch of salt.
- Poor boiling water over the round fleshy tomatoes. Make a few cuts into the tomatoes.
- Finely chop the onion, the red pepper for the sauce, and the garlic.
- Sauté in some olive oil until soft but not browning.
- Drain the tomatoes and rinse in cold water to reduce the temperature.
- Peel the skin off the tomatoes and remove the hard core.
- Chop up the tomatoes and add to the onions.
- Add the parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
- Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Pre heat the oven 130 degC.
- Remove the bay leaf, then use an immersion blender to transform into a smooth sauce.
- Chop the zucchinis, eggplant, red and orange peppers, and long tomatoes into similar diameter round pieces.
- Reserve 1 Tbsp of the tomato sauce for the dressing.
- Spread the tomato sauce on the base of a round baking dish.
- Alternating the vegetables, layer on top of the sauce, as per the image.
- Drizzle with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt.
- Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours at 140 degC.
- Remove the foil, increase heat to 180 degC, and bake for another 30 minutes.
- Bring the two cups of water to the boil.
- Slowly add the polenta, stirring constantly.
- Polenta will thicken after a couple of minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter cubes.
- Stir in the 2 cups cold milk.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Lightly whisk the 2 eggs, and stir into the flour mix.
- Add the polenta to the flour and egg mix.
- Whisk until ingredients are well combined.
- Let sit for 10 minutes. It should thicken a bit.
- Fold in the grated cheese and thyme.
- Make the waffles then keep in a 120 degC oven to keep warm.
- Combine the Tbsp of reserved sauce, olive oil, balsamic, and salt. Shake well.