A few days ago, I wrote about my new mandoline slicer given to me by a coworker. I used the mandoline slicer to make Ina Garten's vegetable tian, which consists of onions and thinly sliced potatoes, squash, and tomatoes. According to author Jeanne Lemlin (Simple Vegetarian Pleasures), a tian:
is a Provencal speciality of vegetable and seasonings cloaked in olive oil and cooked slowly in a hot oven until succulent and tender. "Tian" refers to the method of cooking as well as the heavy cooking dish that contains the melange of ingredients.Ina's vegetable tian was delicious. I followed the recipe, as written, except that I used more gruyere cheese than called for. The next time I make this dish, though, I plan on using even more cheese and layering it between the potatoes, squash, and tomatoes.
In the past, French village bakers would allow home cooks to place their heavy, vegetable-filled tians into still-hot ovens once the last breads were removed. The remaining heat became trapped in the earthenware casseroles and gently cooked the vegetables until they were suffused with the surrounding flavors of a fruity olive oil and aromatic herbs.
Serves approximately 6
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 pound medium round potatoes, thinly sliced (1/4")
3/4 pound squash, thinly sliced (1/4")
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus a couple sprigs
2 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they become translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue sauteing for another minute or so. Spread the onions on the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Layer the potatoes, squash, and tomatoes on top of the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, thyme leaves and thyme sprigs.
Drizzle olive oil on top of the tomatoes, cover dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Uncover the baking dish, sprinkle cheese over the top, cover, bake another 30 minutes, and serve.