Tian Provençal (Provençal Vegetable Bake)
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.
|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|
You will need a 19cm round ovenproof dish.
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.