The other night I was browsing Pinterest, and I came across a vegetable tian. I’d never heard of a vegetable tian before, but on first glance it appeared to be sliced up potato, courgette, squashes, and tomato smothered in cheese and baked. HELLO!
A quick google search told me that a tian is the name of an earthenware receptacle used in Provence, as well as the name of the dish cooked in it. That dish, as seen on Pinterest, is indeed sliced up vegetables on a bed of onions and garlic, smothered in cheese and baked. Google also told me that Ina Garten has made a vegetable tian, and frankly, if Ina has made it, it’s bound to be delicious.
So I pretty much couldn’t stop thinking about that dish for the entire weekend, but also, how I could adapt it (because in case you hadn’t noticed, I can’t just leave a recipe as it is, I have to tweak something, even if it’s just the herbs or seasoning). I started thinking of boulangère potatoes, and how I’ve made them with white potatoes, but I’ve also added sweet potatoes. We had a nice fat courgette in the fridge, and my mother in law gave me a bag of homegrown tomatoes from her garden. And that is how my vegetable tian came to be.
My recipe calls for a lot of garlic – at least 4 cloves. We all love garlic in our house and I use a lot of it in pretty much everything I cook. Not only is it delicious and adds a lovely flavour, it’s also really good for you. If garlic isn’t your thing, just cut down the amount, no biggie.
Let me know if you make this, if you liked it, and what you tweaked, if anything.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 400g potatoes
- 200g sweet potato
- 200g courgette
- 200g tomatoes - it's best to use large tomatoes, I used beef tomatoes but fresh plum tomatoes would work well.
- 3 large sprigs of rosemary
- salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently cook the onions until translucent. Keep them moving around the pan and don't let them catch or burn. Once they are soft, push them to one side of the pan and fry the garlic on a low heat for a minute or two. It's important the garlic doesn't burn or it will taste bitter. Spoon all the onion and 3/4 of the garlic into a casserole dish and put to one side, reserving the rest of the garlic to tuck between the vegetables later on.
- Next, preheat the oven to 180. Slice the potatoes, sweet potatoes, courgette and tomato into 4-5mm slices. Leave the skin on - a lot of the vitamins and goodness is found just below the skin. Arrange these in the dish on top of the onions, but don't be too haphazard about it - the charm of this dish is that it's pretty. Take your time and make it look nice.
- Once you've layered up the vegetables, pop the rest of the garlic where there are spaces, and arrange the rosemary on top. Season with salt and pepper. Cover in foil and bake for 40 minutes, until the vegetables are pretty much cooked.
- After 40 minutes, remove the foil and rosemary. Sprinkle liberally with parmesan and return to the oven until the top is crispy and golden - approximately 25-30 minutes
- This amount will happily serve 4 as a side dish or 2-3 as a main.