ORIGINAL CATCHES: RED TROUT WITH RATATOUILLE Friday, October 07, 2011
It was the Ratatouille in Pixar’s Ratatouille through which Anton Ego, the critic, rainmaker and all-around reprobate (voiced by Peter O’Toole), relives the pleasant memories of his youth, which—much the way the hand-held songs of Whoville’s Whos put a crack in the Grinch’s stony little heart—melts away Ego’s steely reserve and makes him for the first time in a long time, very, very happy.
Food, of course, can do that to us, especially if a dish is made with readily available and ingredients, and is prepared with the methods used by those who first contrived it.
And Ratatouille is one of those easy-to-make (if you’ve got the time) dishes that has long been championed not only by Pixar, but by food visionaries like Thomas Keller, Alice Waters and the incomparable Julia Child.
Nutritious, and low in fat, Ratatouille’s origins seem to stem from Nice, the southeastern French Mediterranean coastal town located near the hip of Italy’s boot. It is generally comprised of eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, diced tomatoes, garlic and basil, and while it tastes incredibly simple, it does have notes of unusual complexity.
Our version doesn’t stray too far from Child’s, which means we separately prepare each individual ingredient so that the flavor of the eggplant harmonizes with the flavor of the zucchini, as so on, until the entire dish is united and evenly balanced.
Diligently prepared and artfully presented, we then “garnish” the Ratatouille with a filet of Red Idaho Trout, which we serve with its skin intact, and which we flay and stuff with tarragon-rubbed slices of citrusy fruits.
The next time you’re in the mood some for something slightly acidic, garlicky, healthy and comforting, order for yourself this seaside dish and see for yourself if it doesn’t unlock old memories, or even create some new ones.