Monday, April 14, 2008

Cookbook Challenge: Vegetable Tian

This was one of those meals that I wanted to blog about as soon as I cleared my plate, just because it was so good I had to tell someone about it! I focused the meal around a Barefoot in Paris recipe for vegetable tian, and made swordfish spedini from Giada's Family Dinners to go along with it. The vegetable tian was fantastic! Very fresh and spring-like, and will be delicious in summer as well. It was a beautiful layered dish of tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes, roasted with fresh thyme and some cheese on top. My only change was using Parmesan instead of Gruyere, and that was only because I was cheap and didn't want to buy yet another kind of cheese (I have about 8 varieties in my refrigerator at the moment). But I will have to make it with Gruyere if I'm serving this to guests, because I imagine the taste of Gruyere would only make this more delicious. It was pretty simple, too, since most of the time was spent roasting in the oven.
The Swordfish Spiedini is also really easy to make. I was excited to make this dish because it gave me an excuse to use the herbs de Provence that I bought on our trip to Europe a few weeks ago. I buy swordfish at Trader Joes, and I think the frozen steaks they sell are good quality and also a great value. This recipe is so simple, and would be even better on a grill in the summer. I had to use the broiler, due to my landlord's strict no-grill sentiment, but it was still tasty made this way.

Vegetable Tian from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris

Serves 4-6

Good olive oil
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium round potatoes, unpeeled

3/4 pound zucchini
1 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh
ly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
2 ounces Gruyere chees
e, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil. In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.

Swordfish Spiedini from Giada de Lauretiis' Giada's Family Dinners

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds swordfish steaks (at least 1-inch thick), trimmed
6 short, thick wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
6 thin slices pancetta (about 2 ounces), unrolled so that you have a strip
6 lemon wedges

Whisk the oil, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Cut the swordfish steaks into 1-inch cubes and toss in the oil mixture to coat. Thread the swordfish cubes alternaetly with 1 slice of pancetta onto each of the skewers, wrapping the pancetta around the fish cubes as you go.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the swordfish skewers until the swordfish is just opaque in the center and the pancetta is crisp, turning often, about 8 to 10 minutes, brushing often with the remaining marinade.

Transfer the skewers to plates and serve with lemon wedges.


Chef Alekka said...

If you ever need "food tasters" for your blog recipes, give me a call. Looks yummy!

Jade said...

This is a wonderful recipe - I made it a few months ago w/ the gruyere. I meant to blog about it but forgot!! Looks good w/ the fish too!

Lisa said...

I have Barefoot in Paris too, and I've been wanting to try the vegetable tian. I think I start getting fresh tomatoes from CSA share next week, so this dish could be coming to my table soon!