Late Summer Vegetable Tian with tomatoes, zucchini and potatoes is a beautiful Provencal-inspired dish!
Where is summer going?
It’s usually so oppressively hot here I can’t wait for summer to end and experience that first delicious chill in the air. …Except we’ve had a chill in the air quite a few times this summer and now it’s slipping away all too quickly.
Oh, our garden is still producing zucchini and tomatoes–and at times it’s been a burden figuring out ways to use all the zucchini. Now that’s it’s getting into late August, I’m appreciating more and more any produce our garden decides to give us.
This casual, yet elegant Provencal vegetable tian (pronounced “tyan”) adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris is the perfect way to use up those late-summer gifts from the garden. I love Ina’s recipes; they’re clean, easy, are well-tested and simply fabulous!
A tian describes the shallow (generally earthenware) baking dish along with the food that is cooked inside it. The vegetables cook in their own juices; no other liquid is usually required except perhaps a slight drizzle of olive oil. If using peak-of-summer tomatoes, I found adding more liquid won’t be necessary.
The vegetables in tians are interchangeable but are generally Mediterranean-style. Yellow squash may be used instead of zucchini, eggplant instead of potatoes or red bell pepper in place of some of the onion. Mushrooms are also a possibility — use your imagination! Any shallow baking dish such as a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or gratin will work. Arrange the vegetables in individual baking dishes and this dish will be the hit of your next dinner party.
Because this vegetable tian includes potatoes, it makes a substantial side dish for simply roasted meat, poultry or grilled fish. It also makes a hearty entrée for the vegetarian friend who comes to dinner.
To make the tian ahead, assemble, bake until the potatoes are tender, cool, and store up to two days. When needed, heat in the oven loosely covered with aluminum foil until hot. Then, proceed with adding the remaining cheese and lightly browning the top. I don’t recommend storing fully assembled without baking–the potatoes will discolor. Tucking the potatoes in at the last minute is also an option.
This recipe calls for Gruyère cheese which is on the pricey side, but almost any white cheese that can be shredded — such as mozzarella or Swiss — will work. The tian will be wonderfully juicy and bubbling when you remove it from the oven. Let it rest a bit before serving.
Late Summer Vegetable Tian is a beautiful Provencal-inspired dish!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to coat baking dish
- 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
- 3/4 pound (2 medium) zucchini
- 5 large plum tomatoes
- 1 pound baby red or Yukon gold potatoes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Brush a large, shallow baking dish with olive oil. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook 15 to 18 minutes or until almost golden. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Add half the thyme and salt and black pepper to taste. Drain off any excess oil. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and allow to cool while preparing the vegetables.
Sprinkle half the cheese over onions.
Slice the zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes into 1/4-inch slices. While the vegetables are on your cutting board, sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Layer vegetables alternately in the dish on top of the onions and cheese, fitting tightly to make one layer. If any vegetables are left over, tuck them in anywhere to use every last one.
Once they're arranged, sprinkle with more salt, black pepper and remaining thyme. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese and and bake another 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.
Allow to rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.