Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the sliced aubergine, season with salt, and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated and the slices are browned. Repeat with the courgette and remember to add more oil as required. Remove each cooked batch to a baking sheet, allow to cool and set aside in single layers.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and blend until smooth. Add the oregano and season as desired with salt and pepper.
In a large tian dish or a large oven-proof baking dish spoon in enough sauce to cover the bottom in a thin layer. Arrange the cooked vegetable slices either separately or mixed. Add a layer of sauce and repeat until the dish is full. Finish with a swirl of mixed vegetable slices and cover thinly with sauce.
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7 for 20 minutes or until the top is browned.
Serve with fresh crusty French bread as a starter or side dish. Use larger portions as a vegetarian main course.
Cut the slices to 6mm and remove as much moisture as possible during frying. This will ensure the dish maintains full flavour.
The tian can be topped with any number of cheeses or breadcrumbs. A garlic sauce is commonly added.
Like the tagine, a tian is both the name of the cooking dish and the food cooked within. It is synonymous with the Provence region. The dish is conventionally flatter than the deeper casserole dish.
You will know Provençal vegetables from dishes such as ratatouille. Peppers, courgettes, tomatoes and aubergines as well as squashes. Ratatouille and tian dishes are popular along the whole of the south coast of France though the former has it's origins in Nice. Generally regarded as a Summer dish, there are many variations. We like this recipe as it has just the right balance of garlic, tomato and roasted vegetable flavours.