Julia Child's Tian de Courgettes au Riz (Zucchini Tian)

By • August 14, 2012 • 39 Comments


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Author Notes: Two-plus pounds of zucchini doesn't look so demanding once you shred, salt, and squeeze it dry. It sheds its water weight, leaving a tamed pile and a lot of green, lightly salted liquid. You could simply warm the shreds through with onions and garlic or simmer in cream -- or cook it into this smart zucchini and rice tian. From Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two (Alfred A. Knopf, 1970)Genius Recipes

Serves 6

Courgettes Rapées (Grated and Salted Zucchini)

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds zucchini
  • 1/2 cup plain, raw, untreated white rice
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • About 2 1/2 cups warm liquid: zucchini juices plus milk, heated in a pan (watch this closely so that it doesn't curdle)
  • About 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese (save 2 tablespoons for later)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A heavily buttered 6- to 8-cup, flameproof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Shave the stem and the tip off each zucchini (or other summer squash), scrub the vegetable thoroughly but not harshly with a brush under cold running water to remove any clinging sand or dirt.
  2. If vegetables are large, halve or quarter them. If seeds are large and at all tough, and surrounding flesh is coarse rather than moist and crisp, which is more often the case with yellow squashes and striped green cocozelles than with zucchini, cut out and discard the cores.
  3. Rub the squash against the coarse side of a grater, and place grated flesh in a colander set over a bowl.
  4. For each 1 pound (2 cups) of grated squash, toss with 1 teaspoon of salt, mixing thoroughly. Let the squash drain 3 or 4 minutes, or until you are ready to proceed.
  5. Just before cooking, squeeze a handful dry and taste. If by any chance the squash is too salty, rinse in a large bowl of cold water, taste again; rinse and drain again if necessary. Then squeeze gently by handfuls, letting juices run back into bowl. Dry on paper towels. Zucchini will not be fluffy; it is still dampish, but the excess liquid is out. The pale-green, slightly saline juice drained and squeezed out of the zucchini has a certain faint flavor that can find its uses in vegetable soups, canned soups, or vegetable sauces.

Tian de Courgettes au Riz [Gratin of Zucchini, Rice, and Onions with Cheese]

  1. While the shredded zucchini is draining (reserve the juices,) drop the rice into boiling salted water, bring rapidly back to the boil, and boil exactly 5 minutes; drain and set aside.
  2. In a large (11-inch) frying pan, cook the onions slowly in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned.
  3. Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic. Toss and turn for 5 to 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.
  5. Gradually stir in the 2 1/2 cups warm liquid (zucchini juices plus milk, heated gently in a pan -- don't let it get so hot that the milk curdles!). Make sure the flour is well blended and smooth.
  6. Return over moderately high heat and bring to the simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat again, stir in the blanched rice and all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Taste very carefully for seasoning. Turn into buttered baking dish, strew remaining cheese on top, and dribble the olive oil over the cheese.
  7. About half an hour before serving, bring to simmer on top of stove (you can skip this step if your baking dish isn't flameproof), then set in upper third of a preheated 425-degree F oven until tian is bubbling and top has browned nicely. The rice should absorb all the liquid.

Comments (39) Questions (3)

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14 days ago zeldie

Found this recipe to be a pain. Why rice? It just doesn't belong. ISecond time I left rice out and simplified the recipe. I just found the pieces of rice in the dish out of place as did my guests. Preheat oven to 425. . grate zucchini as said. Sauté some onions in large skillet, bring bowl of zucchini near skillet and squeeze handfuls of zucchini (let liquid drain into bowl. toss the squeezed handfuls into skillet w onion till all zucchini is squeezed. . Ok to leave a few zucchini strands in liquid. Keep liquid. Toss zucchini w onions then sprinkle w flour, toss, pour 1/2 cup milk and 3/4 cup liquid into mix (no need to warm ) and toss around. Grate cheese in . But buttered dish in oven till butter sizzles then toss in zucchini mix. Smooth top lower to 350. 3rd time I added 2 eggs for a more soufflé kind of dish. Liked it even more.

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13 days ago Andreas

Totally different dish. The original recipe is for a classic tian, yours isn't.

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8 months ago Megan

Made this last night as a side to accompany my hubby's birthday dinner. It is amazing! Worth the effort - which is really not that bad!

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8 months ago Andreas

One of my favourite Child recipes, and one of my children's favourite things to eat, but the recipe far too complicated, and needlessly so. There's no need at all to bother with salting the zucchini, there's no need to pre-cook the rice for exactly five minutes.

Saute onions, add zucchini and garlic, flour, milk, etc and proceed from there - much as one would for a baked risotto. I've made both and the results are identical.

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9 months ago foodforthought-jelena

Than you for this great recipe. Made it, loved it and it is a keeper.
http://foodforthought-jelena...

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9 months ago Debbie Lawson

I add the flour right after sautéing the zucchini and garlic and cook for 2 mins.Then I add 1 1/2 cup milk/zucchini juice. I blend this in then add the rice, thyme, pepper and 3/4 c parmesan. I don't reheat at this point before putting it in the baking dish. At this point you could easily refrigerate and cook the next day. I've done it many times and it comes out just as delicious! Bon appétit!

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9 months ago SpaCook

Thanks a million!

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9 months ago SpaCook

I've made this numerous time and have always LOVED it. I need something for a luncheon and would need to cook ahead of schedule. Any idea if this will keep overnight prepared up to step 5 or 6, then brought up to a simmer before popping in the oven?

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over 1 year ago Kater

Delicious and risotto -like with brown rice, but a much longer parboil and eventual baking time...perhaps too much zucchini water, plus water in my case..no milk in the house. but quite delicious!

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over 1 year ago jstew52

Ditto to kapnic. So good!!

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over 1 year ago kapnic

i couldn't resist and added a little cheddar on top too but oh my this is so yummy. i will definitely add it to my favorites list

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over 1 year ago fearlessem

I'm confused at how 1/2 a cup of raw rice can wind up absorbing 2.5 cups of liquid (plus whatever residual liquid the zucchini releases... How does this work?

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over 1 year ago devendra

I guess is similar to what happens when we make pudding. I frequently use 2 cups of rice to thicken whole gallon of milk.

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over 1 year ago tota

Tihis was super easy and absolutely delicious! Even pulled straight out of fridge, cold, as a leftover the next day...I think my first Julia Child recipe ever, but one I will use again often.

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over 1 year ago Laurie Alvandian

This was the first Julia Child recipe I've made and it came out fantastic! I'm not ashamed to say that I ate the whole thing. I'm making it again tomorrow to take to a brunch - here's hoping the first time wasn't just beginners luck!

Thanks for sharing the great recipe!

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over 1 year ago dennisbrennan

Is there something wrong with the slide show for this recipe? Some (not all) of the photos are "overshooting" when going from one to the next, resulting in my only seeing half of each photo. I've tried the obious (re-starting computer, re-loading your site, etc) but it seems to be solidly there annoying me to no end.

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over 1 year ago tota

I had same problem with slide show, so I just ignored and got on with it!

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over 1 year ago dymnyno

Changing ingredients in a recipe is one of my pet peeves. I made this twice: once exactly as Julia specifies with white rice and once with faro. The Julia recipe with white rice was a very elegant tian perfect for a nice dinner party that I cooked for. The second time I made the recipe I made it with faro which I love for it's nutty rustic quality. The flavor was fabulous and my husband really loved it. Both were great, but the original was a much more refined recipe.

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over 1 year ago Cookwithwhatyouhave

I just made this and tossed the uncooked dry, white rice in with the sauteing onions and it worked beautifully. Spared myself that extra step. Also did the whole thing in an 11-inch cast iron pan that went right into the oven. It was perfect!

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over 1 year ago tota

I used a lot of Deb's Seattle version--1-1/2 c cooked brown rice, 3/4 c parmesan, but kept the moisture at 2 cups and it was perfect! seemed rich and yummy, like a risotto. My first Julia Child recipe (I really haven't been all that tempted bu others) and I will pass it along to zucchini-laden friends. Really a perfect summer meal, with a side plate of heirloom tomatoes and basil, we were in heaven.

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over 1 year ago SpaCook

How long do you think this would hold refrigerated?

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over 1 year ago mrsdailey

I made this recipe as a beginning cook in the early 70's. Thanks for reminding me!

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over 1 year ago Spork

Delicious! Even the six year old had seconds :)

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over 1 year ago mmggrr

It's Julia Child...JUST use the HALF cup of white rice or don't bother...:-) Seriously?