Vegetable Tian

Who doesn't try and eat more vegetables? I like them all (except maybe eggplant) prepared almost anyway, but my family is a little more particular. When they're tired of green salads, I fire up the oven or the grill.

Today I made a baked Vegetable Tian - a french vegetable casserole. Humble vegetables like potatoes and onions, but why not make them look pretty?

The basic recipe is Ina Garten's, but instead of layering vegetables on top of sauteed onions and garlic, I stacked the onions in with everything else and scatter minced garlic on top. I also added sliced cauliflower because it's so good all browned up. I used provolone cheese instead of Gruyere because I wanted a little gooeyness. Goat cheese would also be fantastic and I plan to try that next time.

If you have a mandoline, this would be a good time to use it (but please, for the love of god, be careful). If you don't have one, grab a serrated knife along with your regular one. I love the way a serrated knife grips food and is especially helpful when you're cutting thinner slices of onions and tomatoes. You don't need to peel anything, so this comes together fast.

Vegetable Tian

Serves 4

2 tomatoes
1 zucchini
1 red onion
2 large russet potatoes
2 yellow squash
Cauliflower (half a head sliced, woody stem removed)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup grated provolone cheese
1/4 cup olive oil (approx.)
Salt ( I like coarse sea salt for this) and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375ยบ.

2. Cut all vegetables to 1/4 inch thickness.

3. Rub about a tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 pan (shallow is better). Layer vegetables, overlapping just enough to see what's what. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Cover with foil.

4. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Uncover, test potatoes with fork to see that they are almost tender and, if they are, sprinkle with cheese  and return to the oven uncovered for an additional 30 minutes or until nice and brown. Let rest for 5 minutes (as with meat, this seems to preserve the moisture in the vegetables) and serve.


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