Serves four people as a main course, or six to eight people as an accompaniment or starter. A Tian is a traditional ovenproof terracotta clay dish - usually oval - which is used extensively in the south of France. Many dishes are named after this dish in which they are cooked, and this is one of them. This wonderful dish with the essence of Summer from the S.W. of France can be served hot or tepid as a main course, with a tossed green salad & crusty French bread, or as an “Amuse Gueule” with aperitifs – the literal French translation is a snack to “amuse the mouth” for the main course which follows! You can make the fresh tomato sauce yourself, but most French housewives use the readily available & superb tinned & chopped tomatoes for ease & convenience; this speeds up the preparation of the dish considerably. The béchamel type sauce would be made with “Brousse” in France – strained Cottage cheese is a good alternative. A large Aubergine would be about 500g each.
- 2 large aubergines, sliced, salted, rinsed & dried well
- 2 (400 g) cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 large fresh tomatoes, sliced into rings
- 1 (500 g) jar passata
- 2 -4 peeled & finely chopped garlic cloves, to taste
- 50 g of grana padano grated Italian cheese or 50 g parmesan cheese
- 1 (400 g) container cottage cheese, strained
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 250 ml creme fraiche or 250 ml sour cream
- fresh basil leaf, & flowers if available
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil (to cook the aubergines, about 250 mls)
- Preheat the oven to 450 F/230 C or Gas Mark 8.
- Lightly grease the Tian or an oven proof dish with olive oil.
- Cook the aubergine slices in hot olive oil, turning as necessary until they are golden brown on both sides & well cooked through. Drain them well on absorbent paper & allow to cool before assembling the Tian.
- Cheese Custard: Beat together the cottage cheese, grated Italian cheese, eggs & crème fraiche. Season with salt & black pepper to taste.
- Mix the tinned tomatoes with the passata & add the grated or finely chopped garlic.
- Now you can start to assemble the Tian – start with a little of the tomato sauce & then some aubergine slices; tear the basil leaves into small pieces & scatter over with basil flowers if available. Keep layering the dish with the tomato sauce & aubergines & fresh basil until all the ingredients have been used.
- Pour over the cheese custard & decorate with the freshly sliced tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 35 – 45 minutes until golden brown & bubbling. Allow to cool & serve in slices. Delicious with fresh green salad leaves & crusty bread.
This is excellent-I used creme fraiche instead of sour cream-absolutely delicious. I halved the recipe and used 1 eggplant and this will feed four comfortably serving it with a nice green salad. This recipe is a total winner-the glacage or crust is the best-YUMMY!!! THANK-YOU. C'EST SI BONNE!!
Wonderful! This is exactly what I was looking for-a lighter alternative to eggplant parmesan or lasagna. I especially loved the light custard topping and the rich tomato taste with the eggplant. Husband loved it, too- I substituted tomato paste for the passata and added lots of fresh basil. This is exactly why French cuisine rocks! Healthy, great tasting dish. I originally prepared this as a side dish, but will definitely serve it as a main course in the future. This will be great with other vegetables from the garden-can't wait! One more thing...the presentation of this dish is beautiful. I'm making this again for an office luncheon on Friday.
Not as tasty as I expected.