Making ratatouille is a good way not to waste summer vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini. One preparation involves cooking each element separately and to great lengths. Joel Robuchon said:
The secret of a good ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately so each will taste truly of itself.
It is labor-intensive and technical, when you could easily make a tian.
“Tian” is the term for an earthenware vessel used in Provence mostly for a gratin, which is what a tian is. Ratatouille can be finely chopped or chunky, but a tian is layered with large pieces. Peel tomatoes (by blanching), eggplant, and red peppers (by charring over or under an open flame), and slice, along with zucchini. Oil an enameled baking dish and layer eggplant on the bottom. Sprinkle with minced garlic, chopped basil, salt, and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Top with tomatoes and sprinkle and drizzle again, and so on with the other vegetables. Bake at 350 for about an hour or until soft and not too soupy.
Truc (Tip): You can exclude red peppers and simply distribute some dried red pepper flakes, cayenne, or paprika to your taste between layers.