Summer Vegetable Tian

August 7, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Tian is the word for both the pottery casserole in which this dish is cooked and the dish itself. I always think of a tian as having a mélange of tomatoes, onions, zucchini and sometimes eggplant (like ratatouille), but I think that’s because I’ve taken my notion of a tian from Roger Vergé, the late Provençal chef who popularized the slow- roasted dish. My friend, the cookbook author Lucinda Scala Quinn (Mad Hungry), summed up the dish perfectly: She said the best ones should have too much oil, enough salt and a long cooking. In other words, if your vegetables melt and border on jam, you’ve made a good tian.

I’m giving you a range on the oil. Use the lower amount, and you’ll have a flavorful tian with just enough “sauce” to keep the vegetables moist; use the higher amount, and you’ll have enough oil to use as a dunk for bread.

This way of cooking makes even less-than-wonderful vegetables taste good. Since the eggplant will soak up more juice than it will give off, it’s good to bookend it with slices of tomato. It’s also nice to put the zucchini and onions together. Use whatever herbs you have and use them abundantly, and don’t be afraid of salt, pepper, and garlic. If you’ve got a mandoline (such as a Benriner), use it for the garlic—it’s nice to stud the dish with slivers of garlic.

A word about the baking pan: I use a 9-inch pie plate to make my tian, but you can use any ovenproof casserole of a similar size. If you have a bigger or smaller pan, just multiply or divide the recipe—it’s completely flexible.

This recipe comes from my latest cookbook, Everyday Dorie (out October 23).
Dorie Greenspan

Serves: 4
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 30 min

Ingredients

  • 5 to 9 tablespoons (75 ml to 135 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10 sprigs fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, tarragon and/or basil
  • 3 pinches fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound (227 grams) zucchini, green or yellow, scrubbed and trimmed
  • 1/4 pound (113 grams) eggplant, washed and trimmed
  • 1/4 pound (113 grams) red onion(s)
  • 1 loaf or so good bread, for serving
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400° F. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into the baking dish, tilting it so the oil coats the sides. Scatter over half the garlic and a little more than half of the herbs and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Slice the vegetables: they should be cut about 1⁄4 inch thick. Ideally they should all be about the same size, so if any are particularly large, you might want to cut them in half the long way before slicing them. This is a nicety, not a necessity.
  3. Arrange the vegetables in the dish in tightly overlapping circles. Try to squeeze the eggplant between slices of tomato and get the zucchini and onions to cuddle up to one another. Keep the circles tight, since the vegetables will soften and shrink in the oven. Season generously with salt and pepper, tuck the remaining slivers of garlic in among the vegetables, top with the remaining herbs and drizzle over as much of the remaining oil (3 to 7 tablespoons) as you’d like. Place the tian on a baking sheet lined with foil, parchment or a silicone baking mat. Bake the tian for 70 to 90 minutes, until the vegetables are meltingly tender and the juices are bubbling.
  4. Serve the tian a few minutes out of the oven or allow it to cool to room temperature. Either way, you’ll want bread...a lot of it.

More Great Recipes:
French Provençal|French|Summer|Gluten-Free|Vegetarian|Vegan|Dessert|Appetizer|Lunch|Side

Reviews (8) Questions (1)

8 Reviews

T T. October 7, 2018
I LOVE this basic recipe. I double (or triple) the garlic, use all types of summer squash, use copious amounts of good olive oil and add a large amount of Goat Cheese in the center of the dish (I use a deep pie dish as in the pic). This is a colorful contribution to any gathering.
 
Carol September 16, 2018
+Absolutely delicious, beautiful, and easy! This recipe beats my go-to ratatouille dish. I made it one day ahead to let the flavors meld. Thank you!
 
FrozenFoodie September 9, 2018
I have to say that’s when I first made this, I was underwhelmed. However, when I reheated the leftovers the next night, they lived up to the description in the header. The flavors had melded and the veg was melty. This one’s a keeper!
 
GwenS August 27, 2018
Excellent use for out of the garden veggies. Always looking for ways to use zucchini given to us in abundance. <br />Followed the recipe using basil. Only change was slipping some slices of halloumi cheese in for the last 5 minutes. <br />
 
pyrogyTiger August 27, 2018
This amount of veg worked great in a 9"x9" square glass baking dish. Dont skimp on salt before baking, as it draws out the moisture from the veg and makes the tian juicy, too little and the tian comes out on the drier side. I'm using about 1.5 tsp of ground grey salt. Have tried this recipe twice already, I'm obsessed :) It's also good gratinée'd with some gruyère+parm, potato slices, and whatever mix of fresh herbs you have on hand (sage, oregano, lemon balm).
 
Nancy H. August 26, 2018
I just put my shopping list together for this and I would like to say thank you times 100 for putting the ingredients in weights.
 
salena August 25, 2018
A beautiful presentation for what's basically a ratatouille and a delicious summer dish. And it was fun to do! I made it early in the day (in a Staub pan) and then heated it up still in the pan on the grill. A keeper of a recipe.
 
the M. August 24, 2018
This was insanely easy to prepare and unbelievably delicious - I didn’t do in a circular dish - I just squished the vegetables into rows in a roasting pan - not as pretty but oh so delicious! This will be a regular in my summer repoutaire. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to the new cookbook!