With only two weeks of summer left, the urge to "eat my vegetables" has intensified. My mother was lucky in that my sisters and I were always members of the clean plate club when it came to vegetables. Actually, with the exception of beets, my boys were members of that same club. One of them now eats beets. The other one still feels threatened whenever I mention the beet.
A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend showed a beautiful vegetable tian that she had prepared. It reminded me that I hadn't done one in several years although it is a family favorite. A tian is actually the pan used in preparing the dish. The origin is French. I've never done it with anything other than vegetables but meats are often used. The hardest part is selecting vegetables that are close to the same size and shape. However, I could not resist those pattypan (flying saucer) squash!! The dish has no added liquid and cooks in it's own juices. Still, Roma tomatoes are better as you don't want too much juice.
I used a 9 x 12 pan. When I was "stacking" the vegetables, I thought maybe it was unwise to go so big. However, we enjoyed the dish several times during the week--just add a little more cheese if you like before reheating and always reheat uncovered. It just got better as the week went on.
Here is a basic recipe.
1 large onion, sliced
2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about ten minutes.
Spread in the bottom of an oiled 9 x 12 casserole
5 medium-sized russet potatoes, unpeeled
2 medium-sized green zucchini
2 medium-sized pattypan squash
5 medium-sized Roma tomatoes
Slice all the vegetables about a quarter of an inch thick and, except for the tomatoes, place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil and whatever herb(s) you like. I used fresh thyme leaves.
Using your hands, mix to coat all.
Start layering, along with the tomatoes, on top of the onions and garlic. Do only a single layer.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees when you start the layering. Cover the dish with foil and roast for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a generous amount of cheese. I used Gruyere. Return to the oven, uncovered, for another 30 minutes or until browned.
Set before an admiring table of diners (or two)!!
NOTE: Each time I reheated the dish, I added a little more cheese.