Meal-sharing mania: Tian Provençal + Tear & share bread
Recent studies suggest that sharing a meal with others actually makes you a better person. When food is served 'family style' or on a large platter to be shared with everyone around the table, it has a bonding effect. It primes people to think about fairness and respect, promoting altruistic behavior.
Well, it looks like we're all on the right track. Diners opt for huge share tables with small dishes, at-home cooks are opening up their homes and tables to convivial dinners with friends and strangers…
Looking for good food to share? You've come to the right place!
Tian Provençal out of the pan
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium zucchini (ends trimmed), cut crosswise into thin slices
- 1 small purple eggplant (stem end trimmed), cut crosswise into thin slices
- 1 Sicilian eggplant
- 5 Roma tomato, cut crosswise into thin slices
- 2 red onion, cut into very thin slices
- 2 Mozzarella (8 oz /250 g)
- Sea salt
- Dried Provençal herbs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200 °C. Drizzle a little oil in the bottom of a large ovenproof frypan or skillet.
Arrange the vegetable slices in the pan, creating an alternating, overlapping pattern of the various vegetables & cheese in several concentric circles, drizzling a little of the oil between the slices. Season with salt, pepper and dried herbs to taste, then scatter the Parmesan cheese on top. Roast for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the cheese has melted.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
Tear & share bread out of the pan
- 6 cups / 750 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 x 7 g sachet of dried yeast
- 2 cups / 500 ml tepid water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Put the flour, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sea salt into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Gradually pour in the tepid water, continuously stirring and bringing in the flour from the outside as you go to form a rough dough. Transfer to a flour-dusted surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and springy. Place in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and prove in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Divide up the dough into about 20 pieces, then, one-by-one, roll each one into a ball and place in the ovensafe frypan. Leave to prove for another 1 hour 30 minutes, or until doubled in size again.
Preheat the oven to 375°C /190°C/gas 5. Sprinkle the balls with a little salt, then bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 30 minutes, or until lovely and golden. Place the pan in the middle of the table for sharing, and let everyone tear off their own pieces.