2 hours 50 minutes total time
20 minutes active time
I learned to make this tian from a French chef who emphasized the importance of slowly caramelizing the onions, the hidden, sweet treat beneath the rows of zucchini, tomato and eggplant. You can be less meticulous but I love the meditative ritual of layering the vegetables just so, making symmetrical rows that cook down into a work of edible art.
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3 tablespoons pure olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 small Italian eggplants, halved lengthwise and cut into1/8-inch slices
3 Roma tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch slices
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
Heat the pure olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir to coat evenly with the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook until the onions are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the stove and let sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Spread in the bottom of an 8-inch oval, round, or square baking dish.
Starting with the eggplant, make a row of overlapping slices on top of the onions, angling them upwards rather than laying them flat. Make a row of the Roma tomatoes, then the zucchini, each time gently pushing them upward. Repeat the layering until you have used all of the vegetables.
Season the tian with ½ teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Scatter the thyme leaves over the top and drizzle the olive oil over everything. Top with the grated Parmesan.
Cover the top of the gratin dish with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Remove the foil and return the tian to the oven cooking until the top is golden brown and the vegetables are very tender and almost caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Serve directly from the gratin at the table.
- 3 tablespoons pure olive oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 small Italian eggplants, halved lengthwise and cut into1/8-inch slices
- 3 Roma tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch slices
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese