Byaldi is a very typical Provençal dish similar to a very fancy ratatouille. My grandmother made it on Sundays to bring with us when we visited our extended family in the countryside. We would have to drive for hours, but we didn't mind because the smell of the byaldi in the car was so good. It took everything we had not to steal a piece before we arrived at my aunt Monique's house. We wouldn't even reheat it; we would just eat it warm from the casserole. It's even better the next day if you manage to have leftovers.
Technique tip: If starting to over-color, cover with foil.
Swap option: Marjoram, parsley, rosemary, or herbs of choice can be used instead of thyme.
Preheat the oven to 450 F.2.
In a large pot, combine 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until they begin to brown and caramelize, 20-25 minutes.3.
Season the onions with salt and pepper and transfer them to a 10-inch casserole or baking dish, distributing them in an even layer over the bottom of the casserole.4.
Arrange a tight overlapping row of tomatoes along the edge of the casserole, then follow suit with the zucchini, summer squash and eggplant, and another row of tomatoes, zucchini, squash and eggplant, until you have filled the casserole with fanned rows of vegetables. Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, and season with the thyme and salt and pepper to taste.5.
Transfer to the oven and bake until the vegetables are tender, and the casserole is bubbling and caramelized at the edges, 20-30 minutes.6.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes in a warm place. Serve hot.
Excerpted (or Adapted) from "Vegetable Simple" by Eric Ripert. Copyright © 2021 by Eric Ripert.
Excerpted by permission of Random House, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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