I recently moved into a new apartment, and one of my favorite things about this space is the backyard/porch/patio area. When the weather is fine, there’s nothing nicer than sitting back there with a glass of wine and a book. There’s a curious cat family next door and some friendly squirrels who stop by every once in a while when we offer them almonds.
It’s also nice because I finally have a place outside to keep a little herb garden. I’ve got lavender, mint, parsley, basil, rosemary, and jasmine on hand for whatever I whip up. It feels good to say goodbye to dried herbs, and my cooking has definitely benefited.
I decided to whip up something using some of these fragrant plants this afternoon, settling on this light summery dish. Tians are a classic of provençal cuisine that traditionally makes use of fresh, seasonal vegetables, so when my local grocer started setting out the Chinese eggplant last week, I knew it was fate. The zucchini and eggplant are almost the same diameter, so it makes for easy stacking as well!
Vegetable Tian (adapted from Mimi Thorisson)
- 3 zucchini
- 3 Chinese eggplant
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- a few shakes of dried thyme
- 4 tbs olive oil
- a handful of fresh basil, torn into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice all vegetables into thin circles. I used a mandolin for the zucchini but had to use a knife for the eggplant and tomatoes.
- Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and let sit for 20 min, letting the water get absorbed. Then rinse off salt and pat dry.
- Cover the bottom of a large baking tray with 1 tbs olive oil and half the garlic.
- Stack the vegetable slices in an alternating pattern until the dish is filled.
- Drizzle the rest of the olive oil and garlic, as well as the thyme, basil, salt and pepper over the veggies.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes.
- Serve immediately with crusty bread and a full glass of wine!