Ratatouille Has Got Nothing On Me
How many of you first heard of the classic French side dish ratatouille through the Pixar film… then went on to actually try the dish, only to come away feeling a teensy bit disappointed? Maybe it’s because it wasn’t actually cooked the way Remy cooked it, maybe we lacked Ego’s context – or maybe it just needed something else. Like chorizo. And celery. Here’s our favourite roast veggies side dish. Not as fancy as Ratatouille’s, but we think you’d enjoy it.
Did you know–the iconic recipe in the film was created by Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se. He was hired by Pixar as a consultant for the film, and the dish that Remy makes was available at the French Laundry:
The chef’s handiwork is most evident in the final dish, the one on which the entire plot hangs. The dish is the movie’s namesake, and needs to be so special it will impress the restaurant critic.
Mr. Keller cooked a fancy layered version of ratatouille called confit byaldi. “We had to think about what would make the food transformed,” Mr. Keller said. “What would transport him back to his childhood in a Proustian sort of way.”
With the Pixar team recording his every move, Mr. Keller had a last-minute inspiration as he took a palette knife to the vegetables. “When I picked up a layer of the byaldi and it compacted, I realized at that moment how the dish would come together.” The solution was fanning the vegetables out accordion-style.
Mr. Keller, who describes “Ratatouille” as “extraordinarily clever,” said he is impressed with the film’s dedication to kitchen detail. But he is more taken with its ultimate message: in a nutshell, don’t listen to anyone but yourself.
Try our dish–and Keller’s too, if you have the time. Happy eating!