Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food Styling and Photos by Kelly Hong © 7-22-2016 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Technically, a tian is any casserole cooked in an earthenware vessel by the same name. Zucchini and other squash are very common in classic tians, as are eggplant and tomato. It's kind of like a deconstructed ratatouille.
These days it almost always refers to some kind of varied and layered vegetable dish that's gratinéed (browned on top) in the oven, and made in any type of ovenproof baking dish.
We made ours in a cast iron skillet. This beautiful vegetarian dish is perfect as a main dish, when served with a salad, or as a side dish.
The rainbow-hued vegetables are baked upon a bed of caramelized onions and garlic. You can use tomato sauce, instead.
The perfect way to use up the bounty from your summer garden, or the Farmer’s Market, especially what we call ugly or imperfect produce.
When selecting the vegetables, try to make sure they are of similar diameter, to make the layering more attractive.
The layering LOOKS complicated, but it really only takes a few minutes to fill the pan, and it sure looks impressive!
KELLY CA SAYS: I was lucky enough to purchase a bag of “ugly” round zucchini at my local grocery store for $1. They had a few scuffs on them, but they were still perfect for this recipe.
A mandolin is extremely helpful with this recipe, but you may also use a large chef’s knife, but it will be more difficult to make even slices.
For the basil garlic oil:
1 clove garlic
4 large basil leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the rainbow vegetable tian:
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, to prepare the 10-inch cast iron deep skillet for baking the recipe
1 large onion, peeled
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large plum tomatoes
4 small, or 3 medium-sized zucchini
2 yellow squash
3 medium purple or blue potatoes
3 Yukon gold potatoes
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Large pinch of dried or fresh thyme
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 recipe balsamic glaze, optional
STEP I: MAKE THE BASIL GARLIC OIL
1. Place the garlic and basil into a mini food processor and pulse until chopped.
2. Add the 1/3 cup olive oil, and pulse until combined.
3. Set the garlic oil aside as you prep the vegetables.
Cover and store in the refrigerator for about a day.
STEP II: HEAT THE OVEN AND PREPARE THE PAN. PREPARE THE VEGETABLES FOR THE RAINBOW VEGETABLE TIAN.
1. Position an oven shelf to the middle of the oven.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Prepare the baking vessel: Add two teaspoons of olive oil to a 10-inch cast iron deep skillet, and brush it all over the bottom, and up the sides.
Prepare the onions and garlic:
1. Finely chop the onion and process the garlic cloves through a garlic press or mince it.
2. Pour the 2 teaspoons of olive oil into a small frying pan, then add the onions.
3. Sautee for several minutes, until the onions start to brown a little on the edges, then add the garlic to the pan.
4. Sautee for an additional two minutes, the add a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine.
5. Spread the onion/garlic mixture evenly in the prepared cast iron skillet. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the vegetables:
1. Cut the vegetables into thin slices, a little less than 1/4-inch thick.
3. After slicing each type of vegetable, arrange them on a cutting board and bush the slices, lightly, with the basil/garlic oil, prepared in Step I.
Lightly sprinkle the slices with salt, and black pepper.
Gather the slices in stacks, then place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Cut the tops and bottoms off the zucchini and yellow squash, then slice, oil and add salt and pepper as above.
5. Peel the purple and yellow potatoes, slice, oil and salt and pepper as above.
6. When you are finished, you will have a beautiful array of slices, all ready to stack.
STEP III: BUILD THE RAINBOW VEGETABLE TIAN. COVER AND BAKE FOR ONE HOUR.
1. Build short stacks, alternating the vegetables, then place the stacks around the edges of the cast iron skillet filled with the cooled onion/garlic mixture.
2. Repeat the steps until the edge is full, then fill in the middle of the cast iron skillet with additional vegetable slice stacks.
3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the vegetables, then sprinkle on a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper.
4. Crumble the dried thyme on top.
5. Place the skillet on a large rimmed baking sheet, to catch any potential spills as the tian bakes.
1. Cover the skillet TIGHTLY with foil and bake for one hour.
NOTE: The foil will help steam the vegetables and soften the potatoes.
If too much steam it lost, the potatoes may not cook through, so make sure to seal the pan well.
2. After one hour, remove the pan from the oven, and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of the tian.
3. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes.
4. Remove to the top of the stove with the burners turned off.
Serve warm, or even at room temperature.
OPTIONAL You may even drizzle the tian with our balsamic glaze, just to send it right over the top.
Store left-overs in the fridge. Microwave to warm. This does not freeze well.