As summer heats up what better dish to cook than this lip-smacking vegetable tian – a light and delicious baked vegetable dish with a provençale kick. We’re lucky to have this original recipe from renowned cookbook author Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie. Bon appétit, lovely HiP readers!
Serving size: 4
Tian is the word for both the dish itself and the pottery casserole in which this dish is cooked. 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 and 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 cook time. 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 for dipping 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 mandolin (such as a Benriner), use it for the garlic — it’s nice to stud the dish with slivers of garlic.
- 5-9 tbsp (75-135 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, germ removed and thinly sliced
- About 10 sprigs of fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and/or basil
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1.5 lbs (680 grams) tomatoes
- .5 lbs (227 grams) zucchini, green and/or yellow, scrubbed and trimmed
- .25 lbs (113 grams) eggplant, washed and trimmed
- .25 lbs (113 grams) red onion
- Good bread, for serving
- Place your rack in the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F (205 C). Add desired quantity of extra-virgin olive oil into the baking dish (see headnote), tilting it so the oil coats the sides. Scatter half of the garlic and a little more than half of the herbs across the bottom of the dish and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Slice the vegetables to appx. 1/4 -in. 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.
- 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 (3-7 tbsp) as you’d like. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil, parchment, or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake for 70 to 90 minutes, until the vegetables are meltingly tender and the juices are bubbling.
- 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).
A word about the baking pan
I use a 9-inch pie dish 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.
Storing: Tian is best day-of, but leftovers can be kept covered in the fridge for one day. Pull it out a few hours before serving, or warm it gently in a microwave or a 350-degree-F (175-degree-C) oven.
Options: You can reheat the tian, but you can also repurpose the vegetables. They make wonderful bruschetta and tartines — top the vegetables with a little ricotta, season, and drizzle with oil. They’re terrific as
a topping for homemade pizza too. Chopped, they make a really nice base for a pasta dish — toss the pasta with the vegetables and oil, add some fresh oil and pepper flakes and dinner is done.
- Bon Appétit: Our Favorite Bistro Cookbooks
- Loved this recipe? Check out more from Dorie Greenspan
- Where to eat near the Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe on your next trip to Paris
Written by Dorie Greenspan for HiP Paris. Check out her Instagram for more inspiration here. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.