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A variation of a Turkish dish called imam byaldi, confit byaldi is a type of gourmet ratatouille made famous by chef Thomas Kellar and the Pixar film Ratatouille. Traditionally a stew-like dish of sliced vegetables, confit byaldi transforms the simple fair of ratatouille from a rustic side dish to a gourmet main course. Confit byaldi has three elements: the pepper-based sauce called piperade, vegetables, and a vinaigrette dressing.
Confit byaldi was originally created by French chef named Michel Guerard. The dish was not well known, however, until Thomas Kellar put his own spin on it for the movie Ratatouille. The addition of sauces, as well as the beautifully arranged accordion shape of the vegetables' presentation, makes this dish both delicious and visually appealing.
The piperade consists of red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, as well as garlic, onion, and tomatoes. Seasonings such as thyme, bay leaves, parsley, and salt are also included. Extra virgin olive oil provides the liquid base.
The peppers are halved and roasted in the oven. Afterward, they are cooled, then peeled and chopped. The garlic and onion are heated in oil before the rest of the piperade ingredients, excluding the peppers, are added and simmered. The peppers are added last, and the piperade is allowed to simmer again before completion. The herbs are discarded before use.
The vinaigrette also contains extra virgin olive oil. Balsamic vinegar and herbs, such as chervil and thyme, are added to the vinaigrette as well. Salt and pepper are usually added to taste. To make, the ingredients are simply mixed together and a small amount of the piperade is included.
Vegetables included in confit byaldi are eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash. Olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper are used for seasonings. All the vegetables are cut into thin, round slices.
Before the sliced vegetables are added to a round or oval baking dish or skillet, most of the piperade is poured evenly into the bottom of the pan. The vegetables are laid in the pan in a single straight line of overlapping slices. Then, the remaining vegetables create a tightly spiraled pattern filling the rest of the pan. After the dish is filled, the seasonings and oil are sprinkled over the top, and the dish is tightly covered with foil. The confit byaldi is then baked, often for as long as two hours, before the foil is removed and it is allowed to finish cooking uncovered.
Once complete, the dish may be placed briefly under the broiler to brown or may be stored in the refrigerator for later heating. When served, the confit byaldi is cut into squares or wedges and placed onto individual plates. The vinaigrette is sprinkled over the top at that time.
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