Make Ahead

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

August 14, 2012
13 Ratings
Photo by Karen Mordechai
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

  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Serves 6
Ingredients
  • Courgettes Rapées (Grated and Salted Zucchini)
  • 2 pounds zucchini (up to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup plain, raw, untreated white rice
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (up to 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups warm liquid: zucchini juices plus milk, heated in a pan (watch this closely so that it doesn't curdle)
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (save 2 tablespoons for later)
  • 1 pinch Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Tian de Courgettes au Riz [Gratin of Zucchini, Rice, and Onions with Cheese]
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Courgettes Rapées (Grated and Salted Zucchini)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Rub the squash against the coarse side of a grater, and place grated flesh in a colander set over a bowl.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  1. Tian de Courgettes au Riz [Gratin of Zucchini, Rice, and Onions with Cheese]
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic. Toss and turn for 5 to 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender.
  5. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 a heavily buttered 6- to 8-cup, flameproof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep, strew remaining cheese on top, and dribble the olive oil over the cheese.
  8. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • katstreet
    katstreet
  • Ernest L Sewell
    Ernest L Sewell
  • Emily Irvine
    Emily Irvine
  • Jennifer Yerkes
    Jennifer Yerkes
  • Bruce Davidson
    Bruce Davidson
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

80 Reviews

LisaD August 26, 2020
On my endless quest to use all of the zucchini that my husband grows, I was excited to try this recipe. As the other reviewers stated, it is excellent. The substitutions I made were using brown rice, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I was unsure how long to cook the brown rice, so I cooked it to almost completion. I did end up with a little bit of broth in the bottom of the pan at the end of the baking time *I baked it for about 35 minutes because I like the cheese brown* but even then, it was so flavorful and delicious. If anyone out there has used brown rice and has any suggestions, please pass them along. Next time I will probably cook the rice a bit less so it will sop up that extra liquid. I will also note that our zucchini was really watery. I pushed about 2 cups of water out, and probably could have squeezed out more! Aside from that it certainly did not deter me from making this again. Simple ingredients, easy, and delicious!
 
robin L. August 26, 2020
I've had my eye on this recipe for ages and it sounds so good. I recently salted and drained grated zucchini for a different recipe that called for squeezing out the liquid with cheese cloth or a nut milk bag (which I didn't have) and used a potato ricer to squeeze the zucchini out in small batches...Maybe a ricer would be too harsh on the zucchini for this recipe? But I'm going to try it and will report back. I too have some brown rice that I love, so I'm glad you had success with yours!
 
LisaD August 26, 2020
Oh, I didn't think of that! I do have cheese cloth and a potato ricer as well, but I didn't think of trying either, thank you for the suggestion! I'd love to know how yours turns out! It is really delicious.
 
LisaD September 1, 2020
So I made this again..I had this GIANT zucchini just over 3 pounds. I shredded it, and got about 1 3/4 c. water squeezed out. I added only 1/4 cup of milk. I cooked the onions as stated in the recipe, then added the zucchini and garlic. I cooked it for a bit to have some of the liquid reduce. I warmed the zucchini water and milk mixture in the microwave to lukewarm, and whisked in the flour. I took the zucchini off the heat, and added in the liquid. I also added cold pre-cooked brown rice. Approx. 2 cups. I put it back on the burner to bring it back up to a simmer, and stirred in Romano cheese. I then added the whole thing to my casserole dish, with an extra sprinkling of cheese on top. I baked it at 400 for about 35-40 minutes as soon as the cheese was golden and bubbling. It was FANTASTIC. I think from now on I will simply add the pre-cooked cold rice. It does the trick, and it is really such a great way to use a lot of zucchini. It is even good cold to put on crackers.
 
LisaD August 26, 2020
On my endless quest to use all of the zucchini that my husband grows, I was excited to try this recipe. As the other reviewers stated, it is excellent. The substitutions I made were using brown rice, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I was unsure how long to cook the brown rice, so I cooked it to almost completion. I did end up with a little bit of broth in the bottom of the pan at the end of the baking time *I baked it for about 35 minutes because I like the cheese brown* but even then, it was so flavorful and delicious. If anyone out there has used brown rice and has any suggestions, please pass them along. Next time I will probably cook the rice a bit less so it will sop up that extra liquid. I will also note that our zucchini was really watery. I pushed about 2 cups of water out, and probably could have squeezed out more! Aside from that it certainly did not deter me from making this again. Simple ingredients, easy, and delicious!
 
prescott July 22, 2020
Wonderful, versatile Tian!
 
katstreet August 25, 2019
Julia knows what’s up:) This was pleasantly surprising. For a first time go at it, the dish came out really satisfying and a crowd pleaser. My kids had two helpings! Kept the cheese to a minimum and was still able to get a beautiful crusted top. Will definitely make this again, and even attempt a vegan version as another reader - Jeanne - suggested.
 
Ernest L. August 25, 2019
I'm sure you know, but there is a vegetarian Parm cheese out there, that is great. It's still animal product, but there is a different way they do it that makes it vegetarian. A good Parm keeps it tight and not too gooey.

Also, we almost always drink almond milk, and that's what I used in the recipe. It worked fine. I bet cashew milk would be even richer.

It's a yummy dish. My roommate brought home a zucchini from a friend at work that was the size of a newborn (I can't even exaggerate how big this thing was). I used all of it. It may have been more than 2 lbs, but it did the trick.
 
Jeanne August 26, 2019
Totally agree that parmesan is needed to bind the dish and wanted to pass along a vegan version that does the trick. It is Violife`s product called Just Like Parmesan, which comes as a hard `cheese` in a wedge shape. I`m not happy with how it turn out when shaved, but when it is grated on the small holes of a grater, it works just like a dairy parmesan. The downside is that it may be hard to find in a lot of markets.......I have to go from San Antonio up to Austin to a food co-op to get my stash, not a particular hardship for me but still a pain. But if your kitchen is completely vegan, then it might be worth searching it out.
By the way, has anyone used fine chopped broccoli that probably would need some light steaming as a prep, in this recipe?

 
Jeanne August 18, 2019
This is a lovely recipe. I did have to make slight modifications as I only had 1.5 pounds of zucchini on hand, and adjusted the other ingredients to proportion. Plus used soy milk and wedge of plant based parmesan in order make the dish vegan. I love how Julia prepped the rice! Thank you also for reminding me to dig out my old volumes of her cookbooks!
 
Ernest L. August 17, 2019
The layout of this recipe is really confusing. I think the instructions (and possibly future ones) could be simplified a bit. Things like "Rub the squash against the coarse side of a grater," is easily put as "using the coarse side of a box grater, grate the zucchini."

It does seem like a great recipe. It's in the oven now. But the order of things and the verbosity could be tailored a bit.
 
Emily I. August 16, 2019
I've been making this recipe to the letter for the past 5 years and I am not over it. Every time I am amazed at how Julia Child was able to make the humble zucchini into something so decadent and gourmet. I use all of my very overgrown zucchini for this - scoop out the seeds/fleshy part and use the dense fruit. Comes out amazing every.single.time. Guests literally cannot believe it's primarily zucchini and zucchini 'juice'. Love it!
 
Jennifer Y. June 26, 2019
I made this for a work potluck and it was well received and I would say one of the best things I've ever frickin made! So I have lots of zucchini in the garden and was looking for something new. I followed all instructions and instead of baking in a dish I used a crock pot insert. I assembled the night before, let cool in the oven and in the morning baked to crisp the top. I pulled it out and put I the crock pot, let it sit until 20 minutes before lunch time and put on low. The pot was finished clean! For liquid I used heavy cream and cheese I put asiago in the mix and a Havarti chipotle on top as I like a little kick!
 
molly L. October 17, 2018
this was absolutely lovely -- i did parboil the rice but next time I make it I will try omitting that step. i was hesitant about so much liquid, but Julia was right. trust the recipe! i added the 2 tbs parmesan about halfway through baking and it worked wonderfully.
 
Bruce D. September 6, 2017
This has been a summer favorite of mine for over 25 years. I look forward to the onslaught of the big green monster every summer. My recipe is a little different, I use eggs and Gruyère cheese in addition to the Parmesan to thicken it. This dish comes out perfect every single time, and is great to bring to a summer potluck.
 
Talia August 4, 2018
At what point do you add your eggs?
 
Bruce D. October 18, 2018
Hi Talia - here's my recipe

Ingredients:

1 quart water
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, coarsely grated
2 eggs
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper

Directions
Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan. Add the rice and cook gently for 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and then put in a bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Add to the bowl.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the zucchini and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until wilted. Add to the bowl with the rice.

Lightly whisk the eggs and add them to the bowl with 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, the garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter an 8- by 10-inch baking dish. Turn the zucchini mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 15 minutes. Increase the oven heat to 450 degrees and continue baking for about 10 minutes more until the tian is lightly browned and set.

 
Bigjim August 5, 2020
Two questions:
1. Can I sue cast Iron?
2. Is this quiche-like so I can serve cold?
 
Puffin November 13, 2016
I probably boiled rice too long since it did not absorb the liquid much. Or 2-1/2 cup liquid could be too much. It came out more like risotto. I will try again with less liquid and less boiling rice next time. Tasted wonderful, though.
 
Susan L. June 24, 2020
Hi Puffin. I just added the zucchini to the pan without draining or squeezing. I also skipped the par cooking of the rice. I just added it to the pan and let it cook with the zucc.
 
tota August 5, 2016
I need to make this again, forgot about until I saw comments. So yummy, so Julia!!
 
Natalie R. August 4, 2016
I found the original recipe for the baking time, but in my oven it took longer (45 minutes, but it was in the upper third). Some people said to cover it, but I just waited to add the final cheese until the very end (last 5-10 minutes).

One note about this recipe (which I LOVE as a light summer meal) - don't be afraid to substitute pretty much any cheese. I used a very high quality cheese with the texture of Gruyere but with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, and I've used completely different cheeses at other times. The only concern is the moisture content. I like doing this because it keeps the recipe interesting.

Another note is that you can use a variety of liquids to supplement the zucchini. I've used broth and even just the boiling water from the rice (which was actually very nice). For flour, I've used oat flour, wheat flour, and this last time I used the rice flour leftover from cleaning my grain mill. I think rice flour actually turned out the best for gluing it together.
 
Zita F. March 9, 2016
This is my new favourite dinner dish! I loved it
 
Susan L. February 24, 2016
Just made this for lunch. The renovation workers at my home in France loved it!
My zucchinis had only a tablespoon of water after draining for 2 hours so I just added them to the pan without squeezing. I also skipped the par cooking of the rice as my rice cooks very quickly and uses less water than some. I just added it to the pan and let it cook with the zucc. I also added herbs de provence and used pecorino instead of parm. The sauce thickened up well and was absorbed by the rice creating a light béchamel. I used the same pan in the oven as on the stove with a lid while the rice cooked, which I removed after 25 minutes for browning. I was surprised how lovely it tasted! Very complex flavour, light and creamy without too much fat. Will make this again and again.
 
TishNYC February 2, 2016
Leave it to Julia to give us such a splendid recipe. It's both delicate and flavorful at the same time, lovely with fish (I made mine to go with pan roasted salmon) but it would be equally good with meat or poultry. The only edit I made to the recipe was to add a few shot of Tabasco at the end when the rice is added and before the final cooking.

To the question of how long to bake it (and why would such a key piece of info be left out both here and in the Genius Cookbook?) -- I baked mine for about 20 to 25 minutes and it was perfect (I was using a 2" deep baking dish). Keep an eye on it and you'll begin to see it set up and the surface become slightly browned.

A last important step: let it sit for about 8 to 10 minutes before serving. It will still be hot and the dish will settle down and hold together for serving.

While on my first making I added the called for drizzle of olive oil, it's really not needed. It doesn't add flavor or help in the browning and it only add cost and calories.
 
Nabeela November 5, 2015
How long do I bake it for?
 
PegBee August 8, 2015
Wonderful recipe just as it is. I made a vegan version for my daughter by simply omitting the cheese and using an equal amount of drained zucchini juices, retained starchy par-cooked rice water and veggie stock for the 2-1/2 cups of juices the recipe calls for. I must say the vegan version was creamy and very delicious also!"
 
Claudia July 31, 2015
Followed the recipe as written this evening for dinner -- used 2% milk. Some recipes come out as only the sum of the ingredients -- but this rather small number of ingredients all amplified to make something more. It was a little soupy -- not surprising -- and next time I'll serve with a nice seedy bread to soak up the sauce.
 
jcasare April 19, 2015
This was delicious! I did make two changes to reduce time and dirty pans as suggested by others and it didn't seem to hurt the dish. I didn't parboil the rice- just added it after the zucchini. I didn't transfer the whole thing to another buttered dish, just did the whole thing in a cast iron skilled, stove top to oven. Worked great. Liquid/rice ratios are right on. Trust Julia.