A vegetable tian is a composite of roasted vegetables sometimes with cheese on the top, layered attractively in a shallow dish. The vegetables are usually sliced into coins and arranged in an alternating manner to form a colorful display. This beautiful dish uses the abundance of summer vegetables like zucchinis, summer squashes, eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and herbs. Ingredients may be adjusted to suit one’s preference.
Of late vegetable tarts have also been appearing on the scene. These tarts are equally attractive with basically the same vegetables wrapped into a spiral display. I was really captivated with the presentation and told myself that I will most definitely make one of these before summer is out.
I managed to buy some small to medium sized eggplants at the Asian grocery store and together with my bounty from the farmer’s market, I had everything needed for these individual vegetable tians. Since I wasn’t using any round vegetables like tomatoes or potatoes, I sliced the vegetables into strips and went with the spiral display.
The outcome was not only pleasing but delicious as well. The vegetables were well cooked but not mushy. The individual serving was sufficient for a light lunch. This would be a perfect salad for the colder days ahead.
Even though I did not place a foil on the vegetables, they were still moist and flavorful without too much liquid at the base of the dish. A little parmesan cheese may be added to the final 10 minutes of baking if desired. This recipe was loosely adapted from Barefoot in Paris.
- 2 small eggplants, sliced into strips length-wise
- 1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small zucchini, sliced into strips length-wise
- 1 small yellow squash, sliced into strips length-wise
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried dill weed
Prepare two individual 5-inch pie plates. Place eggplant strips in a bowl. Sprinkle some salt over the strips and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse and drain.
Saute onions in a medium sized pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil for about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic and continue to sauté for another minute. Remove and divide evenly between the two individual 5-inch pie dishes.
Roll a strip of eggplant into a tight circle, then wrap a strip of yellow squash around that followed by a strip of zucchini. Continue wrapping and alternating the vegetables until you can’t hold it in your palm any more. Place it in the pie dish on top of the cooked onions and garlic while still holding on so that vegetables do not unravel. Continue wrapping and alternating the vegetables in the pie dish until it is filled and vegetables are tightly packed.
Shave or sprinkle salt and pepper onto vegetables.
Combine the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil, dried thyme, and dried dill weed in a small boil. Drizzle onto vegetables.
Place both pie dishes on a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated 375°F (190°C) oven for 30 minutes.
Remove and serve immediately.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!