Farmers Market Vegetable Tian

Tian is a French word that describes a shallow earthenware dish as well as the food it contains. Originating in Provence, it features a variety of vegetables, herbs and cheeses that are layered and then baked.  This version, I’d like to call Winter Farmers Market Vegetable Tian, or perhaps Vegetable Tian Redux!    Locavorious member Carol Lessure shared this recipe, that she adapted from a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and I included it in the January 2012 Recipe Handout.  However, after getting some kale at Saturday’s farmers market from our friends at Hand Sown Farm, and trying some new techniques with the frozen goodies, a recipe update to the handout version is in order.   

First update – add kale!  Second update – instead of frozen stewed tomatoes, use the frozen whole tomatoes that will be in the February share.   Third update – Chef Jeff has been experimenting with accelerated defrosting and with extra draining to much success!  I was skeptical, thinking that getting rid of juice is getting rid of flavor, but no, I stand corrected.  The dish benefits from a drier roasting of the vegetables.  Increasing the amount of cheese a bit helps too.  Yum. 

Locavores – this is a great recipe for winter!  At last Saturday’s market, one could get onions, garlic, potatoes and kale from several organic local farms, like Tantre, Carpenters, Schwartz and Hand Sown Farm, among others, and Locavorious has frozen summer squash medley as well as whole frozen tomatoes. 

Ingredients:

Good olive oil

2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ bunch of curly kale, washed and chopped into bit size pieces

1 pound medium round potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled

One bag frozen summer squash medley, defrosted and squeezed

16 oz frozen whole tomatoes defrosted, drained, peeled, squeezed and sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs

4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

 Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. 

Defrost the whole frozen tomatoes by microwaving them for ~ 3 minutes; you can do this in the package.  Drain off the water.  Peel the tomatoes.  Give them a good squeeze to wring out some juice.  Slice them and set them aside.  Defrost the frozen squash by microwaving for ~ 3 minutes.  Drain off the excess water.  Give the squash a slight squeeze to drive off a little more water.    

 Brush a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish with olive oil.

In a medium pan, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 – 10 minutes, or longer, until translucent and starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for another couple minute.   Add the kale and cook until the kale starts to soften.  Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish. 

Slice the potatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices.  Layer potatoes, then zucchini and tomatoes over the onions, covering them.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with more olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned.  Serve hot.

These humble ingredients really roast into a lovely winter “tian”!


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