Tian of Aubergine

Tian is part of that collection of words, like timbale or cocotte, which give a dish the name of the pot in which it is cooked or served rather than an ingredient or cooking process. A tian is an earthenware dish from Provence with a wide rim tapering quickly down to a narrow base, thus giving a good ratio of crisp topping to rather less soft filling. By association, a tian is any dish cooked this way. This could be served as a first course or light lunch with salad, or as a partner to roast lamb or veal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 kg (2lb 4oz) aubergines (eggplant)
  • 450g (1 lb) plum tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and cut into small dice
  • a bunch of basil, finely chopped
  • 225g (8 oz/2 cups) grated Gruyère cheese
  • a little butter or oil, for greasing

Method

Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the lemon juice.

Slice the aubergine into rounds and drop them into the boiling water. Cook for 1 minute, then drain well.

Layer the aubergine slices alternately with the diced tomato in a greased ovenproof dish. Top with the basil and Gruyère, then bake for 40 minutes, until golden on top.

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