Tian Provençal (Provençal Vegetable Bake)

This provencal vegetable bake, known as a tian provencal, is a wholesome vegetarian recipe from My Little French Kitchen. Serve with buttered baked potatoes.

Introduction

If you have seen the animated film Ratatouille you will know that Rémy, the rat, shows the kitchen porter how to make a ratatouille. Real ratatouille connoisseurs, however, will have immediately recognized that it is actually not a ratatouille at all, but a typical tian. Both ratatouille and tian use the same vegetables, but the main difference is in the cooking technique. A ‘real’ ratatouille requires cooking the vegetables individually, before bringing all the elements together at the end; a tian is an artful arrangement of vegetable slices, which is baked like a gratin. It’s a simplified, but more often than not, better looking version of a ratatouille. And a tian is also the large earthenware cooking pot traditionally used in Provence.

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min
Total time: 1 h 15 min

Ingredients

4 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 tbsp olive oil
1 aubergine (approx. 250g)
1 courgette (approx. 160g)
5 firm tomatoes (plum tomatoes work well)
A pinch of salt

Essential kit

You will need a 19cm round ovenproof dish.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Fry the onions, garlic and thyme in 2 tablespoons of the oil for about 10 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.

Meanwhile very finely slice the aubergine and courgette crossways (2mm thick). Use a mandolin or the slicer on the side of a box grater if you have one. Slice the tomatoes into 3mm-thick slices.

Tip the softened onions, garlic and thyme into the ovenproof dish and top with a few slices of the vegetables to make a flat surface. Arrange the rest of the sliced vegetables, alternating the colours, in a circular arrangement around the dish. Drizzle with the rest of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and golden on top.

Une petite astuce - tip: I like to eat this with cheese on toast or a baked potato.

Faire en advance - get ahead: This can be made a day in advance and eaten at room temperature or reheated in the oven at 160°C for 20-30 minutes.This can be made a day in advance and eaten at room temperature or reheated in the oven at 160°C for 20-30 minutes.

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