Tian de Courgettes et de Tomates
(French Provencal summer squash and tomato gratin)
Originally, a tian meant a conical clay cooking vessel used in the southern Provence region of France. These days, tian more often describes a vegetable casserole.
This version makes good use of late summer's abundance of zucchini and tomatoes. It couldn't be simpler to make and is marvelously nourishing.
4 to 6 servings
- Olive oil -- 6 tablespoons
- Onions, chopped or thinly sliced --- 3
- Zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced -- 2 pounds
- Tomatoes, thinly sliced -- 2 pounds
- Thyme -- 2 teaspoons
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium flame. Add the onions and a little salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are wilted and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Spread the onions over the bottom of a baking dish. Starting at one end of the dish, lay alternating rows of zucchini and tomatoes over the onions, overlapping the previous rows like the scales of a fish. Sprinkle the vegetables with the thyme, salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the top of the vegetables with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- For a full vegetarian meal, add rows of sliced fresh mozzarella to the tian and serve with rice pilaf or slices of crusty bread.
- Mix together 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it over the vegetables before baking. Or top with some crumbled feta cheese.
- Add rows of sliced of eggplant along with the tomatoes and zucchini.
- Chopped parsley or basil add good flavor to this tian.