Provençal Tian

Summer in Provence, France is captured in this elegant but easy-to-make vegetarian dish, called tian. Like a refined ratatouille, this preparation calls for eggplant, tomato and summer squash at their freshest. Evenly sliced vegetables are a must for this recipe, making a mandolin almost a necessity. If you don't have a mandolin, shoot for ¼-⅛” slices and use a serrated knife for the tomatoes.

TOTAL TIME:1 hour

SERVINGS:6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 Japanese eggplant, ÂĽ-⅛” slices
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 lbs. tomatoes, ÂĽ-⅛” slices
  • 1 red onion, ÂĽ-⅛” slices
  • 1 yellow zucchini, ÂĽ-⅛” slices
  • 1 red zucchini, ÂĽ-⅛” slices
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over the eggplant slices. Place the eggplant in a colander to drain while you slice the onion and zucchini. Rinse the onion slices and pat them dry.

  2. Season the tomato, onion and zucchini slices on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat for several minutes.

  3. Sauté the zucchini in batches until lightly browned around the edges; you only need to cook the slices for 2-3 minutes when using a very hot pan.

  4. Wipe out the pan between batches of vegetables and add more olive oil as needed. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a wire rack to cool and start the next batch.

  5. Sauté the onion for 1-2 minutes. You want the onions firm, not limp. Rub the garlic cloves over the inside of the baking dish.

  6. Arrange the vegetable slices in a 2-quart baking dish (round, oval or square all work) in the following order: tomato, eggplant, tomato, zucchini and onion ring. Don’t lay the slices in the dish. Instead, arrange them almost vertically upright in the dish (almost like a stack of potato chips from a can). Repeat until all ingredients are used.

  7. Sprinkle the fresh herbs over the tian and place it in the oven. Bake the tian for 12 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Cover any leftover tian and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days (this dish tastes remarkable the second day).