Makes 6 servings
5 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
4 medium or 6 small yellow onions
1 cup panko
1 Tablespoon mixed chopped fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme
1 teaspoon salt salt
12 ounces peeled butternut squash, neck only
2 large apples
½ cup hard apple cider
A tian is essentially a layered vegetable casserole, traditionally baked in an earthenware dish. After baking, the flavors of the apple and butternut meld to create a melt-in-your-mouth sweet and savory combination of fall flavors.
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Rub a shallow 2-quart or 2-liter oval baking dish with olive oil.
2. Slice onions into long, thin strips. In a medium skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, onions, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Saute onions over medium-low heat for 25–30 minutes or until completed softened and lightly browned, stirring often. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the onions to cool for a few minutes before spreading them on the bottom of the prepared baking dish in an even layer.
3. Mix panko, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and herbs in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Halve the squash neck lengthwise. Cut the long pieces crosswise into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick. Peel, halve and cut the core from the apples. Cut the halves crosswise into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick.
5. Starting at a narrow end of the baking dish, arrange a row of overlapping squash slices across the dish, propping the slices up against the end of the dish at a slight angle as you go. Next, arrange a row of overlapping apple slices. You will have to stand them up a bit and lean them against the row of squash. Continue arranging alternating rows of squash and apples, until the dish is full or until you have used up most of your slices. You may have to gently push back the rows in order to fit in a few more rows.
6. Pour hard apple cider over the dish and then sprinkle panko and herb mixture over the whole tian.
7. Bake for 50–55 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the squash and apples are very tender. You may need to add 5–10 minutes to the baking time if using a glass or ceramic baking dish rather than an enameled cast-iron dish. Let the tian rest for a few minutes, and serve warm.
1 hour and 30 minutes