If you have seen the animated film Ratatouille you will know that Rémy, the rat, shows the kitchen porter how to make a ratatouille. Real ratatouille connoisseurs, however, will have immediately recognized that it is actually not a ratatouille at all, but a typical tian. Both ratatouille and tian use the same vegetables; the main difference is in the cooking technique. A “real” ratatouille requires cooking the vegetables individually, before bringing all the elements together at the end; a tian is an artful arrangement of vegetable slices, which is baked like a gratin. It’s a simplified, and more often than not better-looking, version of ratatouille.
- Yield: 6 to 8 Servingsas a side
- Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
- 4 red onions, finely sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 eggplant
- 1 zucchini
- 5 firm tomatoes (plum tomatoes work well)
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, fry the onions, garlic, and thyme in 2 tbsp of the oil for about 10 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.
- Meanwhile, very finely slice the eggplant and zucchini crosswise (⅟₁₆ inch thick). Use a mandoline or the slicer on the side of a box grater if you have one. Slice the tomatoes into ⅛-inch‑thick slices.
- Pour the onion-thyme mixture into the ovenproof dish and top with a few slices of the vegetables to make a flat surface. Arrange the rest of the sliced vegetables, alternating the colors, in a circular arrangement around the dish. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tbsp oil and sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and golden on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.