Summer flew by! We happily hosted friends all summer long at our club on the shore as well as at home. As I mentioned a few posts ago, Life is Meals right? My trusty blue journal has been filling up with this summer’s favorite menus. I noticed the other day, that more than a few meals had a favorite side dish – zucchini, tomato, goat cheese Provençal tian.
The dish is actually a tian, which is a French dish and really refers to the type of cookware. The main ingredients for this version are zucchini, tomato, onions, goat cheese on a bed of white rice drizzled with olive oil and a balsamic glaze. I also add in a generous handful of fresh, chopped thyme and some dried herbs de Provence.
It is a perfect side dish in the summer with zucchini and tomatoes being at their peak. That said, this dish has also graced my Christmas dinner table too. Even winter zucchini and tomatoes are still tasty prepared this way. The green and red of the dish are festive too. I also love how it is both a vegetable and starch which makes meal planning much easier.
Recipe to follow but let’s talk favorite summer menus first.
Menu #1 Short Ribs, Zucchini Tomato Goat Cheese Provencal Tian
A rundown of our weekends and favorite menus of course –
Late June, good friends of ours from business school made the trip to see us. They are also a couple comprised of a French husband and American wife so we have lots in common. J and Mr. SB are also excellent cooks and in fact J passed along the wonders of sous-vide cooking last year with some delectable lamb chops.
Mr. SB was not to be outdone so this menu features his sous-vide short ribs which are finished on the grill. I served a green salad, the zucchini, tomato goat cheese Provençal tian and this blueberry crisp with a side of vanilla ice cream. Note on the blueberry crisp I would not use as much flour as is called for in the recipe. It was a most memorable meal (in spite of the copious amounts of French Bordeaux we drank with it:)
Saturday arrived with picture perfect weather. Blueberry muffins, fresh orange juice, coffee and eggs were on the menu for breakfast. Dinner that evening included an appetizer of fresh clams and oysters (dug up by J and Mr. SB). The main course was salmon grilled on a cedar plank, grilled zucchini and eggplant, pasta salad. For dessert, well of course we had s’mores at the fire pit while we watched the sunset.
Menu #2 Zucchini Tomato Goat Cheese Provençal Tian
A few weeks later good friends arrived from London. Mr. SB once again decided to cook sous-vide this time, lamb loins. Lamb (and really any meat goes well with this dish), tian Provençal and salad. I also made this peach crisp which was delicious (the pecans really add to the flavor).
Breakfast once again included: the famous Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins, along with zucchini bread, fresh orange juice, fruit salad and plenty of coffee and tea.
For dinner we headed to the shore for drinks and I made up a charcuterie board. Mr SB once again made his salmon. I made my adaptation of toasted Israeli couscous with grilled vegetables, farm tomatoes with garden basil and fresh mozzarella. For dessert we had the amazing crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies.
Zucchini Tomato Goat Cheese Provençal Tian Recipe
So enough about meals (or can there ever be enough?) and onto the tian. Years ago, we visited my in-laws, and I first tried Zucchini Tomato Goat Cheese Provencal Tian. The creamy goat cheese, sweet tomatoes and fresh zucchini and onions came together so perfectly. My sister-in-law gave me the magazine copy – it was from a French magazine (which I have since lost and forgotten the magazine name).
Through the years I have adapted it. Their version had the vegetables cooking together and as zucchini takes far less time than onions, there were a number of times when the zucchini was overcooked. She also shared a trick, take a knife to spread the goat cheese onto the zucchini coins. It is much easier than trying to cut goat cheese into slices.
I also shorten the recipe by occasionally using store bought balsamic glaze. If you are a purist (or don’t have glaze on hand), then you can boil down some balsamic vinegar for that part. I also love garlic olive oil, and I use that to coat my dish. As for the dish, I have an Emile Henry 4 quart casserole dish with a cover. You can use any 4 quart dish frankly although I do recommend a cover for part of the cooking.
So here is the recipe. Also, as it is always eaten so quickly, my photo is a “before” I put it in the oven…will try to add the cooked version at a later date!
Zucchini, Tomato, Onion, Goat Cheese Casserole (Tian)
- 1 4 quart dish suitable for baking
- 4 medium zucchini or 2 large
- 4 to matoes
- 1 large onion or 2 small
- 1 log of soft goat cheese Costco has an excellent one that comes in a two pack
- 15 cl de vinaigre balsamique
- White rice – enough to cover the base of your casserole about 2 cups
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 teaspoon or more of chopped thyme
- Herbs de Provence to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Balsamic glaze
- Preheat oven to 350
- Wash all vegetables and dry. Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch or so coins. Spread goat cheese on top. Slice tomatoes and onions. Put onions in microwave for a minute or two until starting to cook (they should not be fully cooked as you will cook them some more in the oven).
- Grease casserole with olive oil. Run a sliced garlic clove around greased sides and bottom or use garlic olive oil.
- Spread rice on bottom of casserole. Layer zucchini, goat cheese, tomato, goat cheese, onion on top. I like to layer so it looks pretty. Sprinkle chopped fresh thyme on top. Sprinkle herbs de provence on top too.
- Bake covered for a half hour. Uncover and bake some more until vegetables are fork tender.
- Serve with your favorite main dish. Enjoy!