A Provençal favorite, the tian is typically a vegetable gratin baked in a ceramic dish. This recipe highlights the best of the summer season with alternating rows of yellow squash, eggplant, and tomato. These simple ingredients are seasoned with thyme, garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil; when cooked, the melded flavors taste somewhat like ratatouille. We baked ours in a Digoin stoneware dish, perfect for serving à table (best at room temperature).
Here’s how to make your own.
Provençal Vegetable Tian
Makes a 9 x 13-inch ceramic dish
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large white or yellow onions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1⁄4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound medium yellow squash
1 1⁄2 pounds small, firm eggplant
1 1⁄2 pounds ripe tomatoes
Basil leaves, to garnish
Cook thinly sliced onions with olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened. Add thyme, chili flakes, and garlic and cook for two minutes.
Cut the squash, eggplant, and tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Spread onion mixture in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch ceramic dish. Arrange the sliced squash, eggplant, and tomato in tightly packed rows. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Add sprigs of thyme.
Bake at 400°, uncovered for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue baking for 45 minutes to an hour.
Serve at room temperature and garnish with basil leaves.
Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine.