You have probably heard of ratatouille, but have you met its near cousin, the tian? A tian, or tian Provençale, is actually the name of the earthenware vessel that this popular summer side dish of vegetables is cooked and served in. The recipe originates from the Provence region of France and features vegetables grown there – courgettes (zucchini), eggplants, tomatoes, squash. While the herbs used and the choice of whether to include cheese or not can vary, a tian is a simple dish of lightly seasoned summer vegetables baked and flavored with their own juices (as opposed to ratatouille which is more of a stew).
I love this French recipe because it is SUPER easy to make (just a lot of slicing), looks very impressive and is a delicious and light side to any grilled or baked meat. With the addition of goat cheese in this version, you could also serve this tian with some good bread as a light lunch. The recipe can be made ahead and reheated in the oven (I think it’s even better the next day) or served at room temperature. My little American touch is a sprinkling of Panko over the top for a little texture, but feel free to leave that off.
Summer Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tian
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Need: Round (such as a deep pie/quiche dish) or rectangular baking dish
1 medium eggplant
4 long tomatoes (Roma or plum)
3 medium zucchini (courgettes)
1 long yellow summer squash
7 ounces (200 g) goat cheese log (firm texture) (optional)
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (or thyme or rosemary)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Panko (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Clean and slice the eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash into ¼-inch (1-cm) slices. Use a mandoline if you would like, but be careful with your fingers! Slice the goat cheese log into ¼-inch (1-cm) slices.
In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the slices of eggplant, flipping once, for about 5 minutes. Place them on a piece of paper towel.
Cut the clove of garlic in half, lengthwise. Rub the bottom of your baking dish vigorously with one half of the clove of garlic. Discard the used half clove, mince the other half and set aside.
Arrange the slices of vegetables and goat cheese upright in the baking dish, in a tight, alternating fashion. For example, I repeated two slices of zucchini, one slice of yellow squash, one slice of tomato, one slice of goat cheese and one slice of eggplant. For a rectangular dish, put the slices in adjacent rows. Use up all of the vegetables or until you cannot fit any more in your baking dish.
Sprinkle the half clove of minced garlic, Herbes de Provence and a dash of salt and pepper over the vegetables. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with the tablespoon of Panko.
Bake for 50 minutes – the vegetables should be tender, but not burnt. Serve hot or at room temperature.
And bon appétit!
Adapted from Saveurs magazine