HERE to see a scene of Remy (a rat) making this ratatouille.
check out their blog on Provençal life - Susan's evocative writing and Towny's luscious photos will have you headed straight for your favorite airline site to book a trip!)
1/2 each red, yellow and orange bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
12 ounces (about 3) plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded & finely diced, juices reserved
1 sprig each fresh thyme and flat-leaf parsley
1 fresh bay leaf
1 medium zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in sixteenth-inch thick rounds
1 Japanese eggplant (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into sixteenth-inch thick rounds
1 yellow (summer) squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into sixteenth-inch thick rounds
4 plum tomatoes, sliced into sixteenth-inch thick rounds
2-3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon crema balsamica (balsamic glaze)
Assorted fresh herbs (such as thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place pepper halves on the baking sheet, cut side down. Roast until the skins loosen, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.
Peel the peppers and discard the skins. Finely chop the peppers, then set aside. In medium skillet over low heat, sauté onion in oil until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until very soft and little liquid remains, about 10 minutes. Do not brown. Add the peppers and simmer to soften them. Discard the herbs, then season to taste with salt. Reserve a tablespoon of the mixture, then spread the remainder over the bottom of a 10-inch oven-proof skillet (the bottom should be 8 inches).
Arrange the sliced zucchini, eggplant, squash and tomatoes over the bell pepper mixture in the skillet. Begin by arranging 12 alternating slices of vegetables in a pinwheel in the center, overlapping them so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. This will be the center of the spiral. Around the center strip, overlap the vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. You should have 5 concentric rings of vegetables. Set aside. (All vegetables may not be needed – you can use the rest for a frittata.)
Drizzle the vegetables with 2-3 teaspoons olive oil, then sprinkle with thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet with foil (I followed Keller’s directions and not Remy’s – he used parchment!) and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until the vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If there is excess liquid in pan, place it over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve room temperature or reheat in 350°F oven.)
In a small bowl whisk together the reserved tablespoon bell pepper mixture, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. To serve, heat the broiler and place skillet under it until lightly browned. Slice in quarters and lift very carefully onto plate with an offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees as you set the food down, gently fanning the food into fan shape. Drizzle the vinaigrette around plate. Use the crema balsamica to decorate the rim.
Serves 4 as a light entrée, and 6 as a side dish.