Monday, August 24, 2015

Provençal Vegetable Tian

Normally, I turn these ingredients - eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomaotes - into ratatouille which, my version at least, is very fast and very loose. Here's one I did with the kids at school: click here. It's a veritable celebration of a garden's bounty...all tossed together in a pot.


Now this looks like the dish that was called ratatouille in the movie by the same name. We can thank Disney for the culinary confusion. Well, for some of the culinary confusion. But who can forget how a single bite of this dish transports the restaurant critic to his childhood? That is a powerful dish. But, unfortunately, this is not ratatouille.


Ratatouille and tian do have a commonality: their origin. Both dishes are from Provençe and use some of the same seasonal produce - tomatoes, zucchini, onions, eggplants. In a ratatouille, the vegetables are cooked in chunks while it is the tian that uses those overlapping rows of sliced vegetables that are so pretty.


Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 eggplants
  • 4 zucchini
  • 3 yellow peppers
  • 1 to 2 C fresh tomato sauce
  • freshly ground salt
  • fresnly ground pepper
  • fresh herbs (I used parsley, thyme, oregano, and marjoram)


Procedure 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rub baking dish lightly with olive oil, then spread 1/2 of the garlic over the bottom. Slice the vegetables as uniformly as you can so that they will stack nicely in a pan. In a small saucepan, bring the sauce to a simmer and season with remaining garlic, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Arrange the vegetables in the pan, alternating between the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. Drizzle the sauce over the vegetables, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15to 20 minutes or until the vegetable tops begin to caramelize. Serve hot though it's also good cold.

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