A tian is a Provençal dish made of egg and vegetables that is ideal for summer picnics. It takes its name from the shallow terracotta dish it is traditionally cooked in. I use a cast iron skillet instead. The basic mix of vegetables is greens, herbs and potato; use what is cropping. You can add flavour with olives, capers, anchovies, a thickish tomato sauce and switch courgettes for spinach or chard, for instance. My recipe is inspired by Elizabeth David’s.
Courgette is grated and fried with potato, garlic, herbs and cheese to form a typically french country dish. Photo: Getty Images
- 250g courgettes
- 250g potatoes (steamed, peeled and cut into cubes)
- 1 heaped tbsp each of parmesan and gruyère cheese
- 1tbsp finely chopped parsley and a few sorrel leaves, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic
- 5-6 eggs
- 4tbsp of olive oil
- Put the cubed potatoes with a little chopped garlic, seasoning and 2tbsp of olive oil in the ovenproof dish and warm through in a low oven (150°C).
- Grate the courgettes and fry them gently in 2tbsp oil, crush over some salt, cover the pan and cook for five minutes.
- In a large bowl beat the eggs until frothy, add sorrel, herbs, cheese, salt and pepper, a little grated nutmeg and the courgettes, then stir in the potatoes and tip the whole lot into a well-buttered skillet or gratin dish.
- Transfer immediately to the oven (otherwise the egg rises up) and bake for 25 minutes at 190°C.
- Cut into wedges when cool.