Briam the Greek Ratatouille
Briam or Tourlou as we call it in Greece it’s a dish with vegetables usually oven roasted, very tasty, and easy to make!
Nowadays every country has its own dish with vegetables although the most famous of all is by far the French “Ratatouille”. It has very little differences from the Greek Briam but it has an interesting story to tell.
Briam or Tourlou
In some regions in Greece, we call it Briam in others it’s called Tourlou so you better remember both names if you ever visit Greece and consider ordering it at a Greek Tavern. Nevertheless, it is a very easy dish which you can make in the comfort of your own home without having any special cooking skills! Just cut all the vegetables in rounds, add them to a baking tray, sprinkle the fresh herbs and spices of your choice, pour the olive oil and it’s ready for roasting!
The History of Ratatouille
The French dish Ratatouille was «born» in the area of Nice around 1976 and is a dish with vegetables that can be served as an appetizer, but also on its own as a light main course. This dish was not very famous in its rustic version at the time.
What exploded the recipe and is now known to everyone is the movie “Ratatouille”. A 2007 animated production by Pixar starring a small talented mouse with an appeal in tasting who decides to follow his dream and become a cook! If you have not seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it!
The animators of the film in order to be able to design and present the food to look delicious and tasty had to attend gastronomy classes by the award-winning chef Thomas Keller! Even the director, Brad Bird, and the film’s producer, Brad Lewis, took fast-paced lessons under the supervision of Keller.
The inspiration for the modern Ratatouille dish came when filmmaker Brad Lewis asked Keller how he would make this French dish Ratatouille if he came to his restaurant to be eaten by a gastronomic critic. Then Keller in response created this fancy multi-layered dish which he called “Confit Byaldi“.
Confit Byaldi is a variation of Imam Byaldi which is a dish with whole aubergines stuffed with onions, garlic, and tomatoes simmered in olive oil or baked in the oven. Greece and Turkey claim the creation of Imam Byaldi because it was born during the Ottoman Empire and it is not clear which of the two countries cooked it first.
Confit is a cooking term that describes food that is cooked in grease, oil, or sugar water (syrup), at a lower temperature, as opposed to deep-frying.
My recipe of Briam requires a lot of oil because it imitates the confit process of cooking in the oven.
Briam the Greek Ratatouille
- 3 large onions cut into rounds
- 3 potatoes cut into rounds
- 6 zucchini cut into rounds
- 4 large tomatoes cut into rounds
- 2 green peppers cut into rounds
- 2 red horn peppers (Florina peppers) cut into rounds
- 2 Eggplants (Aubergine) cut into rounds
- 2 handfuls fresh finely chopped parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
- 1/2 a cup of Olive Oil
- 1 pinch of red chili pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Black pepper
- A pinch of salt
- Cut all the vegetables into round slices of the same thickness, except for the Eggplants (Aubergines), which should be twice as thick as the other vegetables.
- Place all the vegetables in a large baking pan, add the garlic, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil and massage them so all vegetables get a nice coating.
- Eggplants slices should be hidden under other vegetables because they cook faster than the others.
- Bake at 200C / 400F for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.