Zucchini Gratin / Tian de Courgettes

This year fall bounty included tons of zucchini: one of my wonderful colleagues shared her mom garden’s harvest. I love zucchini, but what do you do when you have 3 kg of it?! Flipping through recipes on the web, looking for something quick and easy, I stumbled across Julia Child’s Tian de Courgettes from The Art of French Cooking, v. II.

Tian Dishes
Photo credit: Wikipedia.org

Tian – is a Provencal ceramic dish used both for cooking and serving. It is also the name of the dish prepared in it[1] and baked in an oven. It is similar to casserole but is much shallower. Modern tian is described as having no added liquid, the ingredients being cooked until their naturally inherent liquid or moisture has evaporated. In Provence, the dish may be made with vegetables alone, but also with lamb, fish, or egg added to vegetables. Goat cheese is a common ingredient. Tian can be described as a gratin in the Provençal style. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_tian)

Who is not in awe with Julia Child’s French recipes? Izucchini gratint will be hard to find French recipes that have become classic that are not adapated by Julia. Which source would you turn to when tackling Beef Bourguignon? Or Crepes? Of course, The Art of French Cooking.

Forgive me for sacrilege, but some of her recipes are unnecessarily complex. I don’t know what it is – the reflection of the time when women could dedicate so much time to the kitchen or her Le Gordon Bleu obsessive adherence to methodology, or her personal meticulousness, but there is something intimidating about a recipe that has 20 steps.

I had started the preparation thinking: “There has to be a quicker (read: better) way of making this!” And there surely is! I made a second casserole a week later, following my own methodology, an improved one, with fewer steps, cutting down on time. I have to say, it is as good as the original in taste, but so much easier!

May I present to you – Zucchini Gratin, adapted from Julia Child’s Tian de Courgettes.
Zucchini Gratin / Tian de Courgettes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 10 minutes
Zucchini Gratin / Tian de Courgettes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Dice the onion finely. In a large frying pan, over medium heat, cook the onions slowly, for 8-10 minutes until tender and translucent. Stir every two minutes so that they are evenly cooked.
  3. While the onions are cooking, wash the zucchini. Trim the ends. If the vegetables are large, half them and remove the seeds.
  4. Grate the zucchini using either a medium-sized grater or a food processor.
  5. Add the zucchini to the frying pan with onions. Add the minced garlic. Toss and cook over medium heat until all of the liquid evaporates and the vegetables are still moist but tender about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle in the 2 tbsp. of flour, stir, and heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. Gradually stir in the broth and warm milk. Make sure the flour is well blended and are no clumps.
  8. Stir in the rice. Stir in 2/3 of the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Butter / grease a 9x13 casserole / baking dish. Turn the mixture into the dish. Sprinkle the leftover cheese on top. Dab with butter / olive oil.
  10. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Once done, set the oven to BROIL and heat on top rack until cheese is bubbling and top has browned nicely.
Recipe Notes

The dish can be made ahead and the last step (broiling) done right before serving to heat up the casserole.

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