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 – is a Provencal ceramic dish used both for cooking and serving. It is also the name of the dish prepared in it 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? It 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!