Tian de Courgettes au Riz (Zucchini Tian)

Zucchini TianGenius!

This weekend is our Cookbook Club dinner. It seems like forever since we last had one, so we are all looking forward to it—especially since the book we chose is fantastic! If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Food52.com website, I highly recommend that you give it a look-see when you have a few moments. It is chock full of great recipes, but some are just that much better than the others. So much better in fact, they are genius. (See what I did there?)

Which brings me to this dinner’s cookbook selection…Genius Recipes from Kristen Miglore, Executive Food Editor for Food 52. I have talked (more like raved) about this book before. Everything in it is just that good, and if you haven’t picked up a copy you are missing out. This is a must-have for your cookbook collection. Seriously, get off the couch and go get one. If only for the Canal House Chicken Thighs with Lemon…mind blowingly good.

Our process for choosing which recipes the five of us will make for our dinner is pretty simple…usually. The hostess sends a reminder email with a few dishes she is prepared to make, and then the rest of us chime in with our choices. This time it was like playing beat the clock. We all had the same favorites, and by the time I got my lazy self to my email, mine were taken.

There are, however, recipes that I had not had a chance to try, so I am going with a couple of those. Everything I have made from this book has been fantastic, so I am not worried about this being the test run. Even if there are failures, I am confident that the rest will be so good, and we won’t starve. I expect something like 10 dishes, not including dessert. The cardiologist will be on stand-by.

My first choice would have been this tasty Zucchini Tian. It is the perfect way to try something new as the summer zucchini glut ripens. It’s originally from Julia…you can’t go wrong with Julia.

Tian de Courgettes au Riz — Zucchini Tian
Food 52 Genius Recipes
From Julia Child

2 to 2 1/2 pounds zucchini
1/2 cup plain, raw, untreated white rice
1 cup minced onions
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
2 tablespoons flour
About 2 1/2 cups warm liquid: zucchini juices plus milk, heated slowly in a pan (Be careful not to curdle!)
About 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese (save 2 tablespoons for later)
Salt and pepper
A heavily buttered 6- to 8-cup, flameproof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare the Zucchini
Cut the stem and the tip off each zucchini (or other summer squash), gently wash the zucchini, with a brush, under cold running water.

If vegetables are large, halve or quarter them. If their seeds are large and at all tough, and surrounding flesh is coarse rather than moist and crisp, cut out and discard the cores.

Grate the squash with the coarse side of a grater, or food processor, and place grated flesh in a colander set over a bowl.

For every 2 cups of grated squash, toss in 1 teaspoon of salt to help pull out some of the moisture. Mix thoroughly. Let the squash drain for at least 3 or 4 minutes.

Just before cooking, squeeze a handful dry and taste. If the squash is too salty, rinse it in a large bowl of cold water, taste, and continue rinsing if necessary. Squeeze the squash gently by handfuls, letting juices run back into bowl. Dry on paper towels to remove excess liquid. The zucchini will not be fluffy, it will still feel slightly damp.

Reserve any unused zucchini juice for vegetable soups or sauces.

Prepare the Tian
While the shredded zucchini is draining, drop the rice into boiling salted water, bring rapidly back to the boil, and boil exactly 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large (11-inch) frying pan, sauté the onions slowly in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned.

Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic. Continue to toss for 5 to 6 minutes, until the zucchini is almost tender.

Sprinkle in the flour, and stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Gradually stir in the 2 1/2 cups warm liquid (zucchini juices plus milk, heated gently in a pan. Be careful not to let it get hot enough for the milk to curdle.) Make certain the flour is well blended and smooth.

Return over moderately high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat again, stir in the blanched rice and all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Taste and season carefully.

Turn the mixture into a buttered baking dish, sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and dribble the olive oil over the cheese.

About half an hour before serving, set the baking dish in the upper third of a preheated 425º F oven until tian is bubbling and top has browned nicely. The rice should absorb all the liquid.

Photo Credit: Food52

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