Vegetable Tian in Parmesan Cups
This summer vegetable tian in Parmesan cups is an elegant starter that can be modified easily depending on what ingredients are available to you. The main elements of this dish are a Parmesan crust and layers of colorful baked vegetables. Garnished with fresh mozzarella, this appetizer truly celebrates the season. Chiffonade-cut basil balances the colors and completes the dish.
If you have the right utensils and quality ingredients, a few cooking techniques are enough to turn your wooden spoon or chef's knife into a magic wand!
Yields: 6 servings2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
4 cups cherry tomatoes (Sweet Millions and Sungold), stemmed and halved
1 package fresh mozzarella , sliced
2 tablespoons fried onions (see tips)
⅓ cup olive oil
1 medium leek, coarsely chopped
3 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ cup fresh sweet basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
For the Parmesan cups: Line 2 baking pans with silicone mats or a sheet of parchment paper. Using a ⅓ cup measure, form 6 (5" to 6"-diameter) disks with the Parmesan cheese. Make sure they are spaced out so they won't touch each other and form one large unit in the end while baking. Bake for about 10 minutes.
Invert 6 individual brioche molds (or any small container) and immediately transfer the cheese disks onto the molds. Using a paper towel, press and form the cheese cups. Allow to cool to room temperature. Set aside.
Preparing the vegetable seasoning: In a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, salt, fresh thyme and the rest of the spices until it forms a coarse paste.
Preparing the vegetables: Grease another baking pan with olive oil. Combine the tomatoes and zucchini. Add the wine and vegetable seasoning. Toss until well distributed. Arrange the vegetables in one layer. Drizzle with more olive oil and dot with pieces of butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375°F. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Fill the Parmesan shells with the vegetables by overlapping them. Place a mozzarella slice in the center and melt it with a culinary torch. Sprinkle with fried onions.
Garnish with basil.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Frying onions in advance comes in handy and is a great time saver. Chop the onion. Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a skillet. Fry the onion in the oil, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Drain the oil on paper towels. I always make extra so that I can vacuum-seal and store them in the freezer for future use.
Basil chiffonade: Stacking and roll the leaves and then make thin slices.
Sweet Million cherry tomatoes.
Published By: on July 24, 2012.
Sungold cherry tomatoes.