Vegetable Tian

A wonderful use of the abundance of summer vegetables available in the northern hemisphere at the moment is this beautiful and oh-so flavourful dish from Provence in the south of France. Layers of vegetables, fresh herbs and tasty cheese all baked to perfection. The variations are endless – you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand, top it with breadcrumbs or add a layer of spinach between the onions and other vegetables. The amounts you need will depend entirely on the size of the dish you use. What I list here is what I used in my 30cm x 20cm oval dish.

This version of the recipe was adapted from here. And my envy of her Le Creuset Tower knows no bounds! 😉

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Ingredients

4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 large (or 3 medium) onions, halved and sliced about 1cm thick
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 medium potatoes (around 450g), unpeeled
4 medium Roma tomatoes
2 medium zucchini (courgettes), trimmed
2 small eggplant (aubergine), trimmed
2 medium red peppers (capsicums), top removed and cored
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup grated Gruyère (I used the extra tasty “surchoix”)

Directions

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Brush a round or oval ceramic baking dish with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil on medium-low in a skillet. Add the onions and cook for around 10 minutes, until translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Spread the onions evenly over the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes into 1/2cm thick slices. Either parboil or microwave (covered, with a dash of water) for about 5 minutes. This step is purely to reduce the baking time of the Tian. Drain well.

Slice the rest of the vegetables into 1cm thick slices. Pack them, along with the potatoes, standing up on their edges on top of the onions in one layer, fitting them tightly into the dish.

Sprinkle the vegetables with thyme leaves, salt & pepper. Drizzle everything with a tablespoon of olive oil, cover with aluminium foil and bake for around 45 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven, remove foil and sprinkle the vegetables with the cheese. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake uncovered for around 45 minutes until the cheese has browned and everything is cooked through.

Serve warm with crusty bread and a glass of red.

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