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Summer Vegetable Tian
From: David Eitelbach

The Savory Way
by Deborah Madison
[buy US]
[buy UK]

--pp208-209 _The Savory Way_ by Deborah Madison (New York, Toronto, London, Sydney, Auckland: Bantam Books, 1990) ISBN 0-553-05780-4.

Here's one that is delicious, although it looks maybe a bit insipid on paper (or computer screen)...

makes 4 servings

  • 5 Roma or plum tomatoes
  • 1 torpedo onion or red onion, quartered
  • 4 to 5 small summer squash, one variety or a mixture
  • 2 to 3 small Japanese eggplant
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or several pinches of dried
  • 1 lemon wedge, very thinly sliced
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • lemon wedges
Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the vegetables into pieces about 1/4 inch thick.
The zucchini and eggplant can be sliced on a gentle diagonal (not too extreme, or they will be difficult to place).

Brush 1 or 2 teaspoons of the oil over the bottom of the baking dish and scatter half the garlic slices and half the marjoram or thyme leaves over it. Build the tian by overlapping layers of the vegetables.
Make a layer of zucchini, followed by a layer of eggplant, tomatoes, and so forth; or mix them all together in random fashion.
Placing a slice of tomato over each piece of eggplant helps give the eggplant some moisture while it's baking.
Don't worry about making the rows even: when you get to the end of the dish, push everything together and insert vegetables where gaps appear.
Tuck the garlic slices and the lemon slices here and there among the vegetables then brush them all with the remaining olive oil.
Be sure to put a little extra oil on the eggplant as it tends to dry out more than the other vegetables.
Sprinkle lightly with salt and scatter the rest of the herbs over the top.

Cover the dish and put it in the oven. Check after 25 minutes; the vegetables should be beginning to steam in their own juices. Dip a pastry brush into the juice and brush it over the vegetables; then cover the dish and return it to the oven for 20 minutes more.
When they're tender, baste the vegetables again; then cook them, uncovered, for another 7 to 10 minutes.
If the vegetables have exuded a great deal of juice by the time they're finished cooking, pour it off into a saucepan and boil until it is reduced to a syrup.
Spoon this sauce over the top.
Remove the tian from the oven and let it cool.
Serve it with freshly ground pepper and extra--virgin olive oil drizzled over the top, if you like, and wedges of lemon.

With all the new varieties of summer vegetables on the market you needn't limit yourself to a single type of squash or tomato or to the ingredients in the list.
Try what ever comes your way.

With a loaf of bread... and something fresh and crisp from the garden, this tian makes a simple but perfect summer supper.