When you cook as often as I do, trying new combinations and flavors, as well as making old favorites, you can develop a few little quirks. I’m always a bit restless to test the final product… and I always have an immediate and unwavering opinion of what I’ve made. Thankfully, it’s often “yum, that’s really good… definitely make it again.” Sometimes, it’s “that’s just alright… something to enjoy but not at the top of my list.” And then… there are the times… that I want to break into a happy dance and appeal to each and every person I know to “quickly run to your kitchen and make this!!!”
This recipe is the latter.
It’s really just a simple tian; a riff on what we are most familiar with… zucchini-tomato-cheese tians. A tian is basically a term used for casseroles that were cooked in earthenware dishes of the same name. Today, we see a lot of oven-baked, layered, gratinéed veggie dishes referred to as tians. Only this one incorporates Stemilt apples and (happy dance and major announcements aside) should be a switch up I tried years ago. But, as they say, it’s never too late.
It begins with a little sauté of red onion and swiss chard nestled under a lovely layering of apple, delicata squash and zucchini. I used Stemilt’s Piñata apple, which bakes beautifully and has a wonderful, bright flavor. The apple and squash are all thinly sliced and arranged in an overlapping pattern that is not only visually appealing but ensures that every bite will be a delicious combination of these perfectly balanced flavors. Atop is a gratinée of Gruyere cheese; an earthy, nutty, subtly salty punch of flavor that sings with the sweeter notes of the apple and delicata squash. It very much resembles the flavor notes of a good vegetable lasagna… sans any pasta. You might not immediately detect the apple, yet it’s such an exquisite pop of subtle sweetness that really makes this dish hum.
This tian barely made it to the table for testing. It would be great as a dinner side but, alas, you’ll need to have some restraint or it won’t make it to dinner.
It’s exciting to finally get to that point when you’re ready to pull something from the oven or plate it just so, anxious to finally dive in and see that the flavor is there. With this one… dive! You’ll be glad you did. It’s not rocket science. It’s just a recipe… one that may require dancing shoes though. So be prepared.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 medium red onion (cut lengthwise), thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 large swiss chard leaves, trimmed and sliced in ribbons
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme, divided
- 2 Stemilt apples, cored, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise into approx. 3/8” “half moons”
- 1 delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, sliced crosswise into approx. 3/8” “half moons”
- 2 zucchini, trimmed, sliced into approx. 3/8” “coins”
- 2 oz guyere cheese, shredded
This apple and veggie tian is reminiscent of a savory vegetable lasagna, sans carb-heavy noodles.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion to skillet and sauté onion until just translucent; about 3 to 4 minutes. Add chard, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ teaspoon dried thyme.
- Sauté onion with chard and seasonings for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, lightly spray or grease baking dish.
- Then evenly spread onion-chard mixture in bottom of dish. Arrange slices of apple, delicata squash and zucchini atop onion-chard mixture, overlapping each addition in a layered pattern (as pictured).
- Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon dried thyme. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over top.
- Cover dish with foil and bake for approximate 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle cheese overtop and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve.
- Calories: 242
- Fat Content: 11.7g
- Protein Content: 7.5g
- Carbohydrate Content: 20.3g
- Fiber Content: 8.5g
- Sugar Content: 10.1g
- Cholesterol Content: 15.5mg
- Sodium Content: 721.3mg