A Tiella is a layered vegetable dish often containing tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini that is popular in southern Italy and baked in an earthenware dish. Having visited many different regions in Italy, I know that each region has their own favorite version of Tiella. In Puglia it often contains either mussels or cozze, while some other regions encase their Tiella in pastry. I make a type of Tiella that is a little different, and that varies each time I make it depending on what vegetables are seasonally available. This is going to be a sort of “Nonna Lina” type of recipe (My Mother-In-Law), where the ingredients may seem a little vague but I think you should experiment with your own vegetable combinations and create a dish that best suits your taste.
In the Tiella pictured, I used potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and red peppers. You can also add mushroom slices, sauteed greens, and sliced winter squash to name just a few more options. For my version, I actually precook the vegetables before I assemble the dish as I feel the flavor is enhanced this way, and it cuts downs on the actual baking time as well. This dish is best served at room temperature or just slightly warm, and in fact tastes great if prepared earlier in the day which allows the flavors to meld. In my Tiella I always use potato slices on both the top and bottom to serve as anchors since potatoes are fairly sturdy and I like to remove my Tiella from the pan to serve. Many versions layer the vegetables with tomato sauce between but I prefer simply brushing each layer with seasoned oil and fresh herbs. I also sprinkle on a little grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese between each layer which helps to hold everything together as well. I find that using a spring-form pan with a removable bottom works great to make this dish as you can easily move the Tiella to a platter for serving. The following recipe lists the ingredients I used as well as the technique I used to create the Tiella shown. Feel free though to make changes and create your own individual version. To serve the Tiella, I usually place it on a platter and garnish it with a tomato rose and some fresh basil leaves as shown in the photos.
Serve The Tiella At Room Temperature Or Just Slightly Warm For The Best Flavor
The Top Of The Tiella Is Garnished With a Pretty Tomato Rose And
Fresh Basil Leaves
Deborah Mele 2011
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
A layered vegetable dish that can be prepared ahead of time.
1 Large Onion, Peeled And Thinly Sliced
1 Medium Eggplant Sliced Into 1/3 Inch Rounds
2 Zucchini, Ends Removed And Sliced Lengthwise
2 Red Peppers, Roasted And Peeled
2 Ripe Red Beefsteak Tomatoes
3 Large Potatoes
Salt & Pepper
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
Finely Minced Fresh Basil And Parsley
3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Cook the onion slices in 2 tablespoons olive oil until the are very soft and beginning to brown, then season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the broiler and lightly oil a baking sheet.
Place the eggplant slices on the baking sheet, and brush the tops of the slices with a little oil.
Broil until fork tender and lightly browned on both sides, and then cook the zucchini and potato slices the same way.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease a spring-form pan and begin by laying down potato slices slightly overlapping to cover the bottom.
Mix together about 1/2 cup of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of each of the minced basil and parsley.
Add the oregano and season with salt and pepper.
Lightly brush the top of the potatoes with the seasoned oil and sprinkle with a little of the grated cheese.
Begin to layer the rest of the vegetables on top of the potatoes in the same manner brushing with a little oil in between and sprinkling each layer with a little cheese finishing with a layer of potatoes.
Place the spring-form pan into another larger dish to catch any juices that escape and bake the Tiella for about 30 minutes.
If it begins to brown too much on top, cover the top with foil.
Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.