Eatwell Recipe 24: Provençal Vegetable Tian ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eatwell Recipe 24: Provençal Vegetable Tian

Several years ago, I clipped a recipe for vegetable tian from a Martha Stewart Living mag -- it just looked too pretty to pass up. Unfortunately, it's been languishing in my recipe file ever since then.

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.

ingredients for vegetable tian, Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog
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.)

Sliced aubergine, first of the season, Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog
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.

Ingredients for vegetable tian, all sliced and ready to layer, Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog
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.

Vegetable tian by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog

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
Serves 4


* 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
* Butter
* 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:

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Janna said...

That looks utterly delicious, and you know, it bears a striking resemblance to the ratatouille in the movie of the same title, albeit an animated version of the dish. I'll be trying it out when our tomatoes come in!

Eve Fox said...

Thanks, Janna. It is very similar to ratatouille, the main differences are that ratatouille does not have potatoes, seems to rely on basil instead of thyme and calls for sauteeing rather than just baking.

I LOVED that movie by the way!

kirsten said...

I always wondered what a "Tian" was. Gorgeous! Love the photos too!

kirsten said...

Gorgeous! Love the photos! This is definitely on my list to do this summer!

Anonymous said...

Looks Great! Have tian recipes without eggplant or zucchini? Both male my toungue swell and throat close... Please HELP!

Eve Fox said...

Hmmm. Are you allergic to all types of squash (cause you could use a different kind if you're not)?

I guess you could try it with mushrooms maybe? Would definitely change the taste. But I suspect you could also just do this with potato and tomato and it would taste great (different but great!)