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.
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.
© 2000 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.