Coming up with a name for this main course creation was not that easy. Nothing I could think of adequately describes the richness and depth of flavors this dish brings together. "Tian" simply means a layering of ingredients that are complementary in taste, and usually with visual apppeal. This particular tian is made with vegetables.... so voilà, Tian de Légumes it became (Vegetable Tian).
This dinner was borne out of a simple thought: use what you have in the fridge or off the shelf. But try to do something interesting with it. The result turned out to be a very hearty main course with surprisingly deep flavors. We didn't miss the meat one bit. I'll also use it in the future as a side dish. I wish my vegetarian sister Fran could have been here to try it...she would have liked it!
This is a loosely written recipe. What I mean by that is that I didn't have any hard rules when I put it together. So, take this as a guideline, and I think you can have equally good results substituting with whatever ingredients you have on hand or whatever vegetables you prefer!
1 cup basmati rice (or white rice)
tomato cubes & tomato water
pine nuts, toasted
mozarella, cut in dice
1 carrot, finely shredded
~1/3 cup yellow split peas, cooked
1 shallot, sweated in olive oil + 1 minced garlic clove
Dried mustard, 1 knife-tip full
1 cup flavorful stock (vegetable, chicken, porc, whatever you have)
Cook rice in stock (covered pan). Fluff with fork in a big bowl & add all remaining ingredients. Stir well to incorporate. Season. Make sure it's moist enough. I had some tomato pulp on hand (leftovers from making slow roasted tomatoes, aka, tomate confit in french) and this worked really well. Otherwise, I'd just dice up a whole tomato, seeds & all (but no skin!), with all its juice. Cover bowl of rice mixture with foil & re-heat at moderate temperature, if made in advance.
Other Vegetable Layers on top of Rice
fresh spinach, sautéed in olive oil & seasoned
1 red pepper, cut in brunoise & sauteed in olive oil
1 yellow pepper, cut into sticks or julienne, sauteed in olive oil
1 cup white beans (I used the AOC Paimpol beans....yum), cooked in flavorful stock
Pre-cook all vegetables & store in re-heatable dish or tray. Re-warm tray before serving.
Using a circle mold, add rice to bottom. Place layer of spinach on top, then a layer of red peppers. Lay yellow peppers and white beans on top. Sprinkle tian with fleur de sel and sprinkle plate with tomato powder. Serve with pesto sauce, tomato sauce reduction, or basil sauce. Yum!