When it comes to confit, the storage phase is almost as important as the cooking itself. If you are preserving foods at home, be sure to package and store them effectively to avoid bacterial growth. This form of cooking was originally created as a matter of survival when meat needed to be preserved because there was no refrigeration; but now it is used as a way to make melt-in-your-mouth meats, vegetables and fruits. When you are slow cooking meats like duck, the muscle and tissue break down and the meat is tenderized more than when it is baked, grilled or fried. Another bonus—when you use the confit method to steam with liquid rather than bake in fat, you can change the nutritional value of your meal.
While you may not have a sous chef mouse to help you, confit byaldi is a spin on traditional ratatouille. Created by French chef Michel Guérard, confit byaldi was his answer to the heavy, greasy quality sometimes associated with traditional ratatouille, which required the chef to fry the vegetables before baking. Guérard wanted to lighten the dish by steaming the vegetables instead.
The trick is to finely chop peppers, yellow onions, tomatoes, garlic and herbs and spread them in a thin layer in your baking dish. The next layer will be thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and roma tomatoes. Baking these layers for hours on low heat will steam the vegetables (a much healthier option than frying) and create an amazing caramelization. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette on top for acidity. Many people believe that confit byaldi improves after a night in the refrigerator!
When you make this twist on ratatouille at home, proper storage will help you enjoy the fruits of your labor, longer.
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