Is he not adorable, I ask you? And look at that wooden spoon he's holding! In recent years, Hollywood has found a direct route to movie success with animating and personalizing animals - penguins, dogs, and now a impecunious rat. I haven't even seen the movie yet and I already love it, since it's about Remy (the above clever, cute rat) who aims to become a famous French chef. But, as a rat, how could he? As a rat, he's abhorred in the kitchen. So, he hitches up with an unlikely young man who works in the kitchen (as a janitor of all things) of a top-notch, but about-to-lose-its-stars Parisian restaurant. Remy whispers instructions to this young man, and saves the day by making ratatouille.
Have you ever made ratatouille? Most people haven't. It's a labor of love, I assure you. I made it once, years ago, and must have decided it was w-a-a-a-y too much work and have never made it since. Not that I didn't love the taste. I did. And I've had it in France too. If you've seen the movie, you know that ratatouille is a layered vegetable dish. Unctuous is what comes to mind. In the directions of any French cookbook, each vegetable is cooked separately - blanched in new salted water - because you don't want any vegetable to contaminate or take over the flavor of another. Then the vegetables are combined and baked into silkiness, usually served in a wedge with a simple salad.
Fortunately for us, a fellow blogger and writing pro in the Bay Area at World on a Plate decided to take on Remy's ratatouille and make it her own. She adapted it from Thomas Keller's kitchen (world famous The French Laundry in Yountville). I won't say making this is exactly easy, but her version doesn't require the labor of love of my one attempt years ago. I might even be tempted to try it again with this recipe. But first, I need to go see the movie! As soon as my ankle heals, I'll be gettin' there.
Click HERE to go on over to Jeanne Brophy's blog and her recipe. And, in case you're not sure of the pronunciation, it's rat-ta-too-ee, or rat-ta-twee.