It’s that time of year, folks. Yes, it’s zucchini season. Isn’t is amazing how one little seed so innocently and hopefully planted in the spring grows into a monster plant covering at least twice as much area as you estimated? And producing more dang zucchini than you and your family can possibly eat? And you don’t dare leave one unpicked once you notice it. Oh, no. That unpicked zucchini out there? By the time you come back to check on it it’s the size of a baseball bat. I swear that stuff grows faster than kudzu. And that’s saying something, y’all!
Well, I’ve got a recipe for you today that just might make you happy to have that extra zucchini on hand. It’s a beautiful Tomato Zucchini Tian that uses some of the best of your summer veggie crop. A tian, by the way, is a layered, baked vegetable dish that originated in the Provence region of France. That’s just exactly what this is. Layers and layers of deliciousness.
You start by prepping an eggplant. Peel it and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle some salt over the cubes and put them in a colander. Leave them to drain for about 30 minutes. The salting and draining process pulls out the bitter taste of the eggplant along with some of the moisture.
Next you’ll saute the onions and garlic in some of the olive oil until they’re soft and slightly browned. It takes about 30 minutes. Transfer them over to a baking dish. Then add a little more oil to the same skillet and brown the eggplant. I stir it constantly to prevent it from sticking and it takes maybe 5 minutes to get it slightly softened and just barely browned. Season it with salt and pepper and add it to the onions and garlic in the baking dish.
Now, start preheating your oven while you arrange your sliced zucchini and tomatoes over the eggplant-onion mixture. Top everything with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, Herbes de Provence and the rest of the olive oil. Pop it into the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are just barely beginning to brown on the edges.
Remove the dish from oven and let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes before serving. Top with Parmesan cheese if you like, but I think it’s really tasty as is!
— This post was originally published on July 27, 2011