Basically a casserole, a tian is a French dish involving summer veggies, herbs, oil, and maybe even some cheese. This is a loose recipe that can be made with lots of different vegetables layered together and baked. The Easy Meals version here is extremely basic — something that can be thrown together when you find out at 5pm you have someone coming for dinner at 6pm.
Tian is light, easy, delicious, and a perfect accompaniment for any protein you choose: grilled chicken, steak, pork, duck … This is also fantastic solo or served with grilled portobello mushrooms for the vegetarians out there. Vegans, don’t think you are out of luck on this one either! This is easily a vegan dish that you can make by taking out the cheese (unless you want to use some good vegan alternatives); add onions, other vegetables, herbs, whatever you want. As always, be creative!
Check out the Canton Farmer’s Market in downtown Canton on Saturday mornings to get the vegetables for this dish. If you time it right, you can get the freshest leeks for just $0.50 a piece! Gervasi Winery in North Canton also hosts a farmer’s market, as does Jackson Township and many others. Call or ask around or watch the newspapers for more information.
Now, don’t be frightened if you’ve never used leeks before. These fantastic vegetables have a very delicate flavor that is perfect for this recipe. It might be a good way for you to introduce yourself to this amazing veggie. If you aren’t sure, leeks look like larger versions of green onions.
Leeks can be sandy, so you want to clean them well before use, but this is very easy. Remove the roots at the bottom and all but the palest green at the top (but don’t throw those greens away — freeze them and add them to the pot when you are making stock). Then slice them into little rounds and let those little rounds soak in water while you prepare the rest of your vegetables. Before long, you will be hooked!
1 large or 2 small zucchini
1 cup of shredded Gruyere cheese (mozzarella or provolone would be good alternatives)
2 tsp. garlic flavored oil
3 or 4 stalks fresh thyme
Salt* and Pepper
Shredded parmesan (optional)
A glass pie plate
Drizzle the oil into the pie plate and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the zucchini into approximately 1/4 inch slices — not to thick but not paper thin either. Layer them in the pie plate, add your sliced leeks, and season well with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Sprinkle the cheese all over the veggies and place the thyme stalks on top. If you choose, you can sprinkle a little parmesan on top at this point, but it is not necessary.
Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes. The cheese should be gooey and a little crusty; the veggies should be tender.
Remove from the oven, allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, and serve.
~ Pofta Buna!
* Kosher or coarse sea salt is preferable in all recipes unless otherwise stated — these salts enhance the flavor of the foods you are cooking better than table salt.