After eating ratatouille at a French restaurant, I couldn’t help thinking about how chef Gusteau’s ratatouille, in the movie of the same name, prepared by our culinary hero Remy the rat, looked so much more appetising, especially staged on a polenta waffle.
I decided to try preparing ratatouille in Remy’s not very traditional way.
Who can forget Anton Ego’s expression when taking his first bite of Remy’s ratatouille at Gusteau’s restaurant! The vegetables used in Gusteau’s ratatouille are baked at low heat for 2.5 hours. This slow cooking causes sugars in the vegetables to caramelize, imparting a wonderful sweetness.
The obvious difference between the dish in the movie and this recipe is that the ratatouille sits on a polenta waffle. I wanted to add some texture contrast and volume to the dish so that it would easily stand alone as a main course. The polenta waffle added both. The crunchy crust, creamy interior, and the additional volume ensured satisfaction.
While the polenta waffle worked very well with the ratatouille, they don’t really need each other. Both are delicious in their own right. The waffles work particularly well just with a salad.
No waffle maker? There are alternatives. The ratatouille sits very well on grilled parmesan polenta cakes, part of this herb crusted fillet and strawberry relish recipe.
Gusteau’s ratatouille on a polenta waffle
The first 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.