Monday, September 8, 2014

Vegetable Tian



The Hawkes' are visiting us. This is the first leg of their once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world. They truly are a delight. Enthusiatic, accommodating and willing to eat whatever comes to the table. My delight at seeing empty serving dishes is repeated every night!!! 

Amy and Rob have left very little behind in England. Just a few material things, but lots of family and friends. With nary a worry, backpacks just about filled, they plan to circumnavigate the globe traversing North, Central and South America. Then comes South Africa, where Amy's family comes from, on to Australia and Asia. Have I left out any continents??? Antartica? You can't blame them for leaving out one land mass!! And they blog about their journey too!

They have enthusiastically eaten my biryani, Khau Swe, tacos and steak and potatoes. It's Italian tonight. I make a vegge bake. A tian. That name has fascinated me so!! I can roll it off my tongue effortlessly. Though it sounds exotic, maybe Spanish, a bit Chinese, it really is a form of assorted summer vegetables, robustly roasted. I cut half moons of eggplant and red potatoes. Zucchini circles and tomatoes round off the veggies. I plan to wedge them in a rectangular baking dish. Then an idea strikes. Why not lay them in concentric circles? I start with eggplant, potato, zucchini and tomato, making my way around the baking dish. It take a while, but the result is startlingly lovely. My work of art goes into the oven. When it comes out I will smother it with gruyere.

VEGETABLE TIAN
Serves 4-6

1 big Eggplant
3 small Red Bliss Potatoes
2 Zucchini
3-4 Roma Tomatoes
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 tablespoon Butter
4 Garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
Cooking spray or Butter
1/2 cup grated Gruyere 

Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Slice the half portion once again lengthwise in half. Cut the halves into 1/5 inch slices.

Cut potatoes into 1/5 inch slices.

Slice zucchini and tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. If the tomatoes are big, half and slice.




Spritz  a circular 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Or liberally grease dish with butter. Your choice.

Start with the eggplant, then a slice of potato, followed by two slices of zucchini, ending with a tomato slice. Start with an outside circle. End with the inner one. If you have extra pieces of veggies, wedge them in as the circles need to be fitted tight.





Heat oven to 425F.

Peel and cut garlic into a fine dice.

Take thyme leaves off their stems and roughly chop leaves.

Heat olive oil and butter in a saucepan. 

Add garlic and thyme and let then sizzle for 30 seconds.

Pour olive oil over vegetables. 

Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Scatter gruyere over veggies and dish it out.




My guests come late for dinner. We chat about their incredible day. A stranger in a bar gives them tickets to the US Open quarterfinals!! Another astonishing, heartfelt story about life in the Big Apple. 

The tian experiment does not have too many takers!!  Folks, this is my first attempt!  So the bake gets another life. I arrange the veggies pell mell in another dish. Leftover egg and milk from this morning's French toast gets spiced up and poured over the veggies. Into the oven for 40 minutes and the tian is a tasty golden brown resurrection !!!! Sometimes, once is not enough!


NOTES

I added 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, a large pinch of crushed red chiles flakes and a slittle salt. Whisked well. poured over veggies and baked for 40 minutes. This addendum is for souls addicted to spice!