Provençal Tian (Eggplant, Zucchini, Squash, and Tomato Casserole) Recipe

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This is not ratatouille—it's a tian. Daniel Gritzer

Why It Works

  • Pre-cooking each vegetable in a skillet removes excess moisture and browns the slices, making the final dish much more flavorful.
  • Cutting each vegetable between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick delivers perfect slices. Any thinner, and the slices shrink away to nothing during cooking; any thicker, and the tian seems clunky and lacks elegance.

At the end of the movie Ratatouille, Remy the rat creates a beautiful reinterpretation of a classic ratatouille. Only problem: It's not a ratatouille at all. It's a tian, and they've been making it in Provence for generations. This version features thinly sliced zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant, along with a simple tomato sauce.

Recipe Facts

Active: 90 mins
Total: 105 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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Ingredients

  • About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), ends trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick

  • Kosher salt

  • 3/4 pound summer squash (about 2 medium), ends trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick

  • 3/4 pound Japanese eggplant (about 2), ends trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 small onion)

  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or marjoram leaves

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Working in batches and being sure not to crowd the pan, add zucchini, season with salt, and cook, turning, until just tender and browned in spots, about 4 minutes per batch. Add more oil as needed to prevent pan from drying out, and adjust heat as needed throughout to maintain a very hot, but not heavily smoking, pan. Transfer each batch to a baking sheet and spread in an even layer to cool, then transfer cooled slices to a second baking sheet or plate. Repeat with remaining zucchini, squash, and eggplant until all vegetables are lightly browned.

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring and adjusting heat to maintain simmer, for 15 minutes. Blend to smooth puree with a hand blender or in a countertop blender, then add marjoram or oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. In an earthenware, ceramic, or glass baking dish, spoon just enough sauce to cover bottom of dish in a thin, even layer. Arrange sautéed vegetable slices in an alternating layered pattern (see note) on top of sauce until entire dish is filled. Spoon a thin layer of sauce on top of vegetables; reserve remaining sauce for another use.

  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450°F. Bake until tian is fully heated through and lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Special equipment

earthenware, ceramic, or glass casserole or baking dish (about 2-quart capacity; see note); baking sheets; blender or immersion blender

Notes

The exact size and shape of the baking dish is flexible. The vegetables should be layered more tightly in a smaller dish and spaced more widely apart in a larger one. In round dishes, it's best to layer the vegetables in a circular pattern; in rectangular dishes, they should be layered in rows.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
344 Calories
28g Fat
23g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 344
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 487mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 45mg 227%
Calcium 74mg 6%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 999mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)