Since we received some lovely-looking tomatoes, zucchini, onions and the very first aubergine (eggplant) of the season in this week's produce box and we also happen to have potatoes and garlic left over from a previous produce box, it seemed like the perfect time to finally give this yummy recipe a try.
The tian originated in Provence in the south of France and is similar to a gratin except for the fact that it does not include bread crumbs or cheese (though you can top it with gruyere if you like which is also very tasty). The baking concentrates the flavors of the vegetables so it is a great dish in which to showcase truly tasty veggies (but not a great dish to make if you have to use supermarket fare which often tends to taste kind of bland.)
The traditional recipe calls for leeks but since we received red onions in our box, I've substituted those, instead. Some recipes seem to call for potatoes while others do not but I love potatoes so I've included them below. If you don't have thyme on hand, you can substitute basil or oregano.
The amounts of each thing below are fairly rough; the trick is to use freshly picked, high-quality veggies and to cut them thinly. The recipe below is a mix of the Martha Stewart recipe and one I found on Slashfood with a few adjustments of my own.
This can be a main dish, albeit a fairly light one, but it also goes very well with grilled meats or roast chicken, a green salad and some fresh bread to sop up the juices. Bon appetit!
Provençal Vegetable Tian
* 1 large onion or 2 medium leeks
* 2 large cloves garlic
* 1 or 2 small zucchini
* 1 or 2 small aubergines (eggplants)
* 1 or 2 small potatoes
* 2 or 3 medium plum tomatoes
* 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of a two-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Set aside. Butter the inside of the dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice the onions and peel and mince the garlic. (If you're using leeks, cut the root end off and chop where the green begins then slice the white part and rinse in cold water to remove any sand/dirt. Let dry in a collander.)
3. Remove the ends from the zucchini and aubergines and discard. Cut each crosswise into coins 1/8-inch thick. Remove the stem ends from the tomatoes and discard. Cut each crosswise into rounds 1/8-inch thick. Scrub and dry the potato(es) and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices.
4. Coat a small pan with a good dose of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and swirl to coat. Gently add the onions (or leeks). Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions (or leeks) have begun to soften and the garlic has released its fragrance, approximately two to five minutes.
5. Carefully spread the onion/leek-garlic mixture across the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and a few grindings of fresh black pepper; strip the leaves from one of the sprigs of thyme and sprinkle over the mixture.
6. Layer the zucchini, aubergines, potato, and tomato on top of the onion/leek-garlic mixture, alternating each and overlapping slightly. I made sure to put the juicier things (squash and tomato) between the drier veggies (eggplant and potato) to keep the whole thing consistently moist. If working with a square or rectangular dish, layer in rows; if working with a circular or oval dish, work in fans from the center. Drizzle with a two-count of olive oil and splash with the wine. Sprinkle with salt and a few grindings of fresh black pepper; strip the leaves from the remaining thyme and sprinkle over the casserole.
7. Butter the cut parchment and carefully place, buttered side down, on top of the vegetables. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven, until the vegetables are soft but not mushy while the edges are nicely crisp and brown.
A few other recipes you might like:
- Grilled Summer Squash
- Leek & Goat Cheese Galette
- Roasted Delicata Squash & Caramelized Red Onions With Farro & Arugala
- Roasted New Potatoes With Rosemary & Sea Salt