10 min + 90 min baking
2-4
On cooler summer days, when you can run the oven for a while, make this Provençal summer vegetable tian. Technically, a tian is an earthenware baking dish local to Provence. By association, a tian can also be what’s cooked in that dish. In this case, it’s a layered vegetable dish that’s cooked, covered, in the oven until tender, then uncovered and baked until liquid has evaporated and there’s a bit of browning. It’s also an easy and delicious way to use up an abundance of vegetables.
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 medium white potatoes, peeled
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash
  • 3 large tomatoes, perfectly ripe
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • salt and pepper

Don’t worry if you don’t have an authentic tian – any shallow baking dish will do that’s large enough to hold all the vegetables. I used an oval 2-quart baking dish for this summer vegetable tian, and I could have squeezed more vegetables in there.

preparation

Heat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Peel the garlic clove, crush it slightly, and rub it all over the inside of a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Then oil the dish, so the vegetables won’t stick.

Slice all the vegetables quite thinly. Don’t bother peeling the eggplant or the summer squash, but I like to remove the peel from the potatoes. Put all the vegetables in a large bowl. Strip the leaves from several branches of fresh thyme; add the leaves to the vegetables. Gently toss the veggies and thyme with 2-3 tablespoons of oil.

layer the vegetables

Arrange the vegetable slices in a shingled spiral in the baking dish in this order: eggplant, tomato, yellow squash, potato. Repeat until all the vegetables have been used – if you have leftover sliced towards the end, just stick them in where it seems good to you. Sprinkle the vegetables lightly with a bit of salt, then lay any leftover sprigs of thyme on top.

cover, bake, and then uncover

Cover the dish tightly with foil. Place in the oven and bake about 1 hour, until all the vegetables are tender. After an hour, remove the foil and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. The vegetables should be quite tender, liquid will have been cooked off, and you should see light browning on some edges.

Serve hot, just warm, or at room temperature: this is not a fussy dish at all.

to make ahead

You can assemble this casserole and refrigerate it for a day before baking. You can also bake it a day or even two days ahead of time – just reheat it in a medium oven, or serve at room temperature.

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