Summer is back. We’re sweating in front of our fan again. With this heat wave though comes a renewed desire to save fall vegetables and dishes for later (butternut squash and stew, I’ll wait for you!) and eat up all of the summer produce before it’s gone.
This tian is my favorite way to eat zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant, three vegetables that are so abundant in late summer yet can be so boring. This dish is really easy, really cheap, really good, makes incredible leftovers, and it’s forgiving. Only have one kind of squash? That’s fine! Want to add some red bell peppers in there? Go for it! It will all be delicious. The only catch to this miracle food is that you have to turn on your oven for an hour. So turn that AC unit to turbo or crank up the fan, because it’s worth it.
This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s ratatouille recipe.
Summer Vegetable Tian
1 small eggplant
1 medium sized zucchini
1 medium sized yellow summer squash
1 large tomatoes
½ medium onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned tomatoes (crushed, diced, or whole peeled)
salt and pepper
Sage, thyme, and/or rosemary
¼ cup parmesan, optional
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Prepare the eggplant. Peel it, and cut it into thin slices. Put the slices in a colander, sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt over it and let it drain. (This helps minimize the bitterness sometimes found in eggplants). While the eggplant is draining, grease a casserole dish with cooking spray, and pour in the ½ cup of canned tomatoes. Stir in a pinch of salt and the garlic clove. Arrange the sliced onion on top.
Cut the rest of the veggies into thin slices. If you have a mandoline, that works well. The slicer on some box graters is a good option too. If not, just use a knife. You’re ready to layer! I like to take a few pieces of each veggie and stack them on top of each other, then lay them upright in the pan.
Next, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and any herbs you have on hand. I like a combination of thyme, rosemary, and sage, but anything will do. Drizzle olive oil over the veggies, and cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the veggies are super soft and smell amazing.
This step is not necessary, but it makes it taste really good. Remove the foil and sprinkle ¼ cup parmesan cheese over top, and bake uncovered for 15 more minutes.
My favorite way to eat this is over rice or pasta, but if you require meat, serve it as a side to super easy chicken under a brick.