I find watching cooking shows incredibly relaxing. I guess that goes somewhat hand and hand with me finding cooking supremely relaxing. What I find most interesting about all cooking shows is how each person has their slight variations on things to make them their own. That is the thing about cooking, it can be highly creative. Use what you saw or use the recipe and tweak it to your liking. This tian is something I have seen several folks make, as far back as when I used to watch Martha when she had her show ages ago and there were often times cooking segments. This was Martha close to 15 years ago. I saw Ina Garten make one not long ago. Guida too. This is a bit of a mix of them all with it leaning most towards Ina. I really have learned the most about cooking from Mister Sive, but the above 3 women have taught me quite a bit about cookery in their own way.
What I like most about this tian is that it is a one dish dish that works nicely next to a piece of chicken or fish and you are all set. You really don’t need to serve it with anything else, as there is both veg and potato in it. Here we go.
Heat oven to 375 degrees while you get things chopping. Cut up one sweet onion. On the stove top in a skillet, brown the onion with extra virgin olive oil. Once done, line the bottom of a baking dish with the sautéed onions. Add thyme that you pull off the buds and just sprinkle around and on top of your onions. This is the base. Fine that this cools a bit while you start chopping away.
Next, you want to choose Roma tomatoes, small Yukon gold potatoes and zucchini that are very similar in circumference. Cut each into quarter inch sizes. On top of the onions, start stacking the slices, alternating the 3 as you go. The above image is what it should look like when you are finished. Once done, add a liberal sprinkling of salt over the top of things. A bit of pepper too. Add more thyme leaves over the lot as well. The herb is so mellow and really adds to the lusciousness of this dish. Finally add a few whole springs of the thyme to the dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake in your now hot oven for 45 minutes.
Once the 45 minutes has passed, take out of oven, remove the foil and the whole thyme stems and discard. Add a generous, make that a super generous about of grated Gruyere cheese to the entire top of the dish. I take extra care to make sure the cheese has also fallen down the sides of the mixture. You really want all of this cheesy goodness spread everywhere once it is done. Put back into the oven uncovered, for another half hour so the cheese melts and the mixture finishes cooking. I am so sorry I did not click a photo of how beautiful it looks when finished. We had guests and by then, taking photos was completely out of my head. Trust me, you will be quite pleased with yourself. It is so darn good! The cooked and melted mixture of the onions with the potatoes and the tomatoes and the zucchini mixed with the herbaceous goodness of the thyme is really all quite something.