These vegetable dishes get their name from the traditional shallow earthenware dishes in which they are made. I first discovered tians years ago and now this is a favorite way to cook vegetables. I like to use my cazuelas, Spanish earthenware dishes that are glazed on the inside and five inches in diameter. You could also bake them in a larger gratin dish. These make a light first course or side with a meat or fish entree.
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the basil olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until it trembles, becomes aromatic, and easily coats the bottom of the skillet. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and cook until it is soft and lightly colored, about 20 minutes. If the onion starts to dry out before it is ready, add a little more oil.
3. Meanwhile, rub the bottoms of the cazuelas with the garlic dove. Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices.
4. Distribute the onions evenly in the cazuelas. Alternate layers of the tomatoes on top of the onions, making six rows, two of each color. Pack the slices in snugly, overlapping them both horizontally and vertically. They will stand up at a slight angle.
5. Drizzle the remaining basil oil on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the cazuelas and push down on the vegetables with a metal spatula. Return to the oven and bake until the vegetables are soft and starting to caramelize, about 15 more minutes.
7. Serve directly from the cazuelas.
This page created May 2009
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