Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | August 27, 2009

Courgette Tian

Photo John Lawrence

Recipe by Xanthe Clay in Daily Telegraph 05 Aug 2009 (French Bistro Cooking)
Serves 4
A tian is the name for a shallow Provençal baking dish and anything cooked in it. Sometimes made with cheese and rice, I prefer just vegetables. Baking the courgettes brings out their sweetness and makes a lovely accompaniment to lamb or chicken.


3 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 courgettes, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 large tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 (or lower if that suits another dish you are cooking – the exact temperature is not important).
Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook gently for half an hour or so until meltingly tender. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
Oil a shallow gratin dish (mine is an oval, 10in/25cm long) and spread the onions in the base.
Arrange the courgettes and tomatoes in overlapping circles over the top. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper.
Bake for about an hour, until coloured and slightly shrivelled, which means the flavours have intensified.
Eat the tian hot or at room temperature.
Hil’s Comment:
I met this dish at a girly supper, and it was superb – Madeleine served it with marinated pan-fried chicken breast, a delicious yet simple meal; it gave a real French flavour to a wonderful summer evening relaxing ‘a deux’ on the terrace, and a glass (or 2) of chilled Chardonnay went down a treat!
I soon had an opportunity to try it again myself when kind neighbours gave us cherry tomatoes and (1 very large) courgette fresh from the garden, and once again it was delightful. Looks impressive, and is incredibly easy to do. Timing is not critical, and it can be removed from the oven and simply left to stand while you finish off the rest of the meal. I baked it slightly less than an hour.
A great vegetarian option, crumble feta cheese over the top or serve with slices of grilled haloumi cheese.

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