On a scale from one to TIAN, I give this dish an eleven. Corny jokes aside, this is among my favorite side recipes. A “tian” is a Provençal baked vegetable dish prepared in an earthenware cooking vessel also called a tian. It’s sort of a lighter version of a gratin- the moisture that steams the potatoes and vegetables comes from the natural liquid in the veggies, not from heavy cream. And it can be made with an array of thinly sliced vegetables, but I especially love this summery, ratatouille-esque combination of creamy potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, and ripe tomatoes. While this tian looks fancy, it’s surprisingly easy to prepare! The trick is finding vegetables that are a similar width in diameter and slicing them in uniform 1/4” pieces. Use a mandolin if you like- they scare me but if you’re a cautious cook, go for it! When layered in an overlapping shingled pattern, the veggies look like they were professionally arranged. I like making this in a round baking dish, even a cast iron skillet, but you could easily prepare it in a rectangular vessel. Just make rows of layered vegetables instead of concentric circles. Serve this along side beef, chicken, fish or pork- it’s the perfect partner for almost anything. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m envisioning reheated leftover tian topped with a fried egg as a delicious breakfast... mmm I’m going to have to make this again soon just for that particular reason! I hope that you enjoy this tempting tian- it’s the epitome of simple, French elegance.
prep time: 30 min. cook time: ~1 hr. 10 min. serves: 6
1 lb medium yukon gold potatoes, similar in width
1/2 lb zucchini squash
1/2 lb yellow squash
1 lb roma tomatoes
kosher and black pepper
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly brush or spray a large round baking dish with oil (alternately, use a 9”x13” rectangular baking dish). Slice the potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes into uniform 1/4” slices. Starting at the outer edge of the dish, begin to tightly overlap the vegetables in concentric circles. Drizzle the vegetables with good olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and the gruyere cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake covered about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is brown on top and the potatoes are very tender. Serve hot or warm. Bon appetit!