This dish is perfect for this time of year!
A Tian is a dish from Provence in France, and it is a gratin where all the vegetables reduce and caramelize, resulting in juicy summer goodness. I have tried tian’s before which were fiddly, fussy–even lining up chopped vegetables vertically!– all a lot of work, and just not worth it. This one gets the flavor results without the craziness of those other laborious efforts. It is quite easy, in fact. The time this version takes is mostly hands off in the oven, and I’ve learned to use dried herbs in this instead of fresh, for their more concentrated flavor. Usually I’d think fresh is better but this dish is one where it turns out that is not true.
Any variety of summer squash can be used in this dish. I used the mixture shown below in the photo.
This serves six as a side dish and leftovers are a revelation as the innards in an omelette.
Summer Squash and Tomato Tian Recipe
a tad of butter for the baking dish
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cups onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups summer squash, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese (mixture of cheddar and Parmesan)
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Grease a three quart baking dish or 9″x13″ pyrex with a bit of butter.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil and add the sliced onions. Sprinkle them with salt, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
Spread half the cooked onion on the bottom of the baking dish, then half of the squash. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon each of thyme and basil. Layer half the tomatoes and sprinkle with 1//2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Repeat the layers: the remaining onions, squash, herbs, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the top with the grated cheese.
Bake for about 90 minutes, pressing down on the vegetables after 45 minutes. The tian should be well browned, with the vegetables meltingly soft, bubbling in their juice.
Serve hot. Enjoy!