Tomato & Zucchini Tian

by Lynne on August 12, 2012

Post image for Tomato & Zucchini Tian

Tomato & Zucchini Tian 1

Today I went to the monthly meeting of my Food Bloggers Los Angeles group and the theme of our potluck was Tomatoes and Zucchini. Timely, I hope. I will be writing a separate post about all the great dishes we brought, with photos and links to the recipes.

I brought this Tomato and Zucchini Tian to the potluck and several people told me it was really good. Yea! I asked if anyone knew how to pronounce “tian”, but we couldn’t get a consensus. When I got home I did a little research and here is what I discovered.

According to Wikipedia:
“A tian is a tall, conical earthenware cooking vessel used in the Alpes-maritimes area of France. They are traditionally made from red clay and can be either glazed or unglazed. A modern tian can be lidded or not and sometimes has a looped handle on one side.

The vessel is used to cook a traditional braised vegetable stew also called a tian. The unglazed vessels, filled with root and winter vegetables along with wine or rinds of cheese, were placed in the hot ashes of a fire and left to stew all day in gentle heat, somewhat like a Dutch oven.

Today, the modern version of vegetable tian is not a stew, but a freeform composite of roasted vegetables baked in a shallow dish with cheese to form a casserole.”

And if you want to know how to pronounce this French word, click here. It sounds like TEE’yong to me. I am laughing at myself here, trying to say this out loud.


Tomato & Zucchini Tian 2

A couple of days ago I made a prototype of my tian so I could write down all the ingredients and amounts, and perfect the method. I made it in my 8×8 glass baking dish, which you can see in these photos. For the potluck, I made it in my oval 9×13 white baking dish, which is the top photo, and doubled the ingredient amounts. It came out perfectly.

Tomato & Zucchini Tian 3

I have a confession to make. I screwed up when I made it the second time. I created the recipe, so I thought I knew what I was doing and didn’t need to read it as I cooked. Well, guess what. The prototype had the grated cheese added after it had baked for 40 minutes, right before it was returned to the oven uncovered.

When I made it the second time I was in la la land and put the grated cheese on at the beginning, before it went in the oven. So that cheese baked for 40 minutes covered, and 30 minutes uncovered. By the time I realized it, it was too late. That is why they look different. So you have a choice. Add the cheese at the beginning, or after 40 minutes. It’s up to you. When I make this again, I will add the cheese at the beginning. It was so good.

Tomato & Zucchini Tian 4

Print Recipe Print Recipe

Tomato & Zucchini Tian

Serves 2

1 tablespoon butter
1tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, quartered lengthwise, cut in ¼-inch slices crosswise
1 large garlic clove, very thin slices

2 large plum tomatoes, ¼-inch slices
2 zucchini, each about 7 inches long, ¼-inch slices on diagonal

1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

¼ cup (8 half tablespoons) Parmigiano Reggiano

1 ¾ cups shredded cheese, of choice, I used ½ Jack, ½ Kerrygold cheddar
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Melt butter and olive oil in sauté pan big enough to hold sliced onions. Cook on medium low until softened and starting to brown. May take 30-45 minutes. Add garlic slices and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Spread onions on bottom of 8×8-inch glass baking dish. Dust with Kosher salt and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano.

4. Mix minced garlic, rosemary and thyme together in a small bowl.

5. Holding the dish at a 45 degree angle, higher end near you, and starting at the far side of the dish, create a row of slightly overlapping zucchini slices that are standing on edge. Sprinkle row with about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic mixture and ½ tablespoon Parmigiano. Lightly dust with salt and pepper.

6. Add a row of slightly overlapping tomato slices, sprinkle with garlic mixture and Parmigiano. Continue adding alternating rows of zucchini and tomatoes in this manner until dish is full. Try to end with a tomato row. I ended up with 8 rows.

7. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the center of oven for 40 minutes.

8. Remove aluminum foil and sprinkle shredded cheeses evenly over rows. Sprinkle 1/3 cup Parmigiano over shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for additional 30 minutes until shredded cheese is melted and golden.

Note: Recipe may be doubled to fit in a 9×13 dish.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought August 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

That is fascinating about the word tian. I love learning about the origins of food and how they are prepared. The dish looks beautiful.

Geez Louise! August 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Sorry I missed it… love your attention to detail with the layering.

Lentil Breakdown August 14, 2012 at 9:22 am

This was best in show, lady! Yumm-o. Uh oh. How did Rachael Ray get in my keyboard? Get out of there. Scat!

Kim August 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I highly enjoyed the version you brought to the meeting, so when I make this, I’ll do the same thing and throw the cheese in. I’m thinkin’ of subbing feta cheese… because that’s what I happen to have in the fridge; what do you think about that? 🙂


Lynne August 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Hi Kim ~ I think you will have created your own version which will be delicious, but different than mine. Feta sounds really interesting, so I hope you will let me know how it turns out. Lynne xo

Colleen @ The Taste Place August 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

That looks simply delicious!

Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious August 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Oh my gosh this was good. You floored me with the presentation, too!

grayslady September 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Another fabulous recipe, Lynne. The mix of cheeses is just right; ditto for the spices. The first time I made it we both had two helpings! Word of caution: do NOT try making this in a metal pan–too much heat burns the cheese at the edges. Porcelain casserole works perfectly for this dish. I recommend serving this with chicken or pork to fully appreciate the taste, with just some crusty bread on the side. This is now going onto my list of no-fail favorites.

Susan December 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Made this for a Christmas dinner side dish and it was excellent. Healthy, inexpensive
, super easy and most of all tasty. And accidentally Christmas colored!

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