Tian de légumes is perhaps one of the most typical dishes from Provence. Traditionally its made in a clay dish called a tian hence the name. Like many dishes of this type the list of ingredients that comprise "THE" tian can easily be discussed way into the night. There is quite a debate on if potatoes should be included in this dish the purist will frown at this idea, however I have seen some add slices of cheese in between the veggies during the last 10mins or even adding parboiled rice at the bottom of the dish.
From what I've read and discussed with those in the know the original list is made up of Aubergines, Tomatoes , Onions and Courgettes (Zucchinis), not surprisingly the vegetables that are most common to this region. Of course, there is always a healthy addition of Herbes de Provence and garlic.
Ha ! Another mythic ingredient - Herbes de Provence, the standard mixture can typically include, savory, fennel, basil, thyme (dominant herb), thyme flowers and Majoram only to name a few. Like all blended spices, everyone has their own mixture. Interestingly enough Lavender is only added in American mixtures but is not used in the French 'base'.
In all honesty we don't make this dish very often as my son is not the veggie lover poster child. He loves, peas, carrots, haricot verts (string beans) and corn anything else will warrant a scream from him. However the rule in the house is that you eat what is served for dinner or at least try it. That said I try to make dishes that he will eat and avoid throwing several "new" veggies at him in the same week. Before you ask, no he did not enjoy this but he tasted it :)
There is no hard set recipe for this dish, it all depends on what kind of dish you make this in. For what its worth I don't have a "tian" but I do plan on getting one , one of these days :) The list of ingredients are up to you, the idea is to use the freshest ingredients that you have. It's a very simple dish so the flavors really come and can make or break this dish.
List of Ingredients:
- Aubergines - try to get small ones about the same circumference as the tomatoes, it will help enable everything to cook at the same time. The quantity is again up to you and the size of the dish you are using. I love aubergines so I tend to use 2 for a 1 1/2 quart oval dish which will serve approx 4-6.
- Tomatoes- for this dish I used about 5
- Onions - 2 or 3 small onions
- Courgettes (Zucchini) - about 2
- Garlic -2 cloves
- Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tablespoon herbes de provence
Cut garlic in half and rub the bowl with the cut garlic, after grease dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Slice the tomatoes, onions, aubergines and courgettes approx the same size
Alternate the veggies by placing one of each to slightly overlap and then starting again
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbes
Drizzle with remaining olive oil
Bake until the vegetables are carmalised approximately 50 mins.
Can be served either hot or warm. We like to eat it accompanied with a green salad tossed with my hubby's vinaigrette.