Summer means spending time with my family at our cottage on the lake in Madison, OH. It also means farm stands. I have never seen as high a density of farm stands as I have in Madison; every road you turn down has a table with a box of vegetables on it. Farm stands mean summer to me; fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini.
My brother-in-law, Travis, always goes out for a morning bike ride. He brings back a dozen ears of fantastic sweet corn every time. We asked him if he knew the name of the place. His reply:
I guess we could call them the Corn family. That’s all it says on their cardboard sign.
This is not a great recipe for our summer cottage. The cottage does not have air conditioning. This recipe requires a hot oven. Not a good combination.* But I made it anyhow, and I’m glad I did – this is a great recipe for late summer vegetables, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. Baking them results in a hearty, meaty dish that was a delicious change from the many salads we ate while we avoided the heat.
*The heat is my excuse. The heat is why I completely forgot the onions. There are no onions in the pictures. It was the sweat dripping off the tip of my nose while I sliced zucchini – it distracted me. Yeah, that’s the ticket…
Recipe: Zucchini and Tomato Casserole (Tian Provencal)
Adapted From: Roger Verge Cuisine of the Sun
Cook time: 40 minutes
- 13 x 9 roasting pan
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound zucchini or summer squash (or a mix of both)
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes
- 1 sprig of basil, roughly 5 leaves (or fresh thyme)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Saute the onion and garlic: Preheat the oven to 450*F. Trim and peel the onion, then slice thin. Peel and crush the clove of garlic. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute the onion and garlic until just softened. Pour the onions, garlic and any remaining oil into the baking dish and spread the onions out to evenly coat the bottom of the dish.
2. Shingle the squash and tomatoes: While the garlic is cooking, thin-slice the tomatoes and zucchini into 1/8 inch slices. Once the onions are in the baking dish, add a layer of alternating zucchini and tomatoes over the top. Mince basil, then sprinkle the squash and tomato slices with the basil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Finally, drizzle everything with the last two tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Cook the tian: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, then move into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the squash and tomatoes are softened and browned on the edges.
*Match the size of your tomatoes and zucchini if possible. I used globe zucchini and squash because they were roughly the same size as the tomatoes at the market. When I have normal zucchini, the long kind, I use roma tomatoes.
*This dish can be served cold; cook it through, then refrigerate. (It also makes great leftovers.)
*My brother brought his mandoline to the cottage, which made this recipe a breeze to prepare. I’ve avoided buying a mandoline, using my chef’s knife or food processor instead. This recipe pushed me over the edge – I loved how easy it was to slice the zucchini on the mandoline, and I need one now. Oh, I have needs…
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Roger Verge Cuisine of the Sun
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