The classic Provençal tian—a gratin of layered sliced vegetables served right from the vessel it’s baked in—gets a Chinese American twist, courtesy of recipe developer and fashion designer Peter Som. In this recipe, a favorite on his Thanksgiving table, Som uses thinly sliced rounds of sweet potato tossed in brown butter spiked with ginger, miso, dark soy sauce, and five-spice powder. “Made of fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns, five-spice is infinitely versatile,” he says. “It brings warmth to whatever I’m making. I like to say it’s pumpkin spice’s bolder cousin.” Stacking the slices so they stand upright on their sides (rather than flat against the pan) exposes their edges to the heat of the oven, allowing them to become crispy and intensely flavorful. If you can’t find dark soy sauce, you can substitute 2 Tbsp. regular soy sauce plus ¼ tsp. granulated sugar.
For the rest of Som’s Thanksgiving menu, see his recipes for Asian Pear Salad With Peanut-Lime Dressing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Gochujang Brown Butter, Dutch Oven No Mai Fan, Char Siu Wellington, and Milk Tea Bread Pudding With Crème Anglaise.
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Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
garlic cloves, finely grated
1″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
cup low-sodium vegetable broth
cup light brown sugar
Tbsp. dark soy sauce
Tbsp. white miso
tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt
tsp. five-spice powder
tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Tbsp. thyme leaves, plus more for serving
lb. medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled, sliced ⅛” thick
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Butter a 10″ cast-iron skillet or a 2½-qt. shallow round or oval baking dish. Melt 6 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (do not burn) and smells nutty, 5–8 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in garlic, ginger, orange zest, orange juice, broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, miso, salt, five-spice powder, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. thyme.
Combine sweet potatoes and brown butter mixture in a large bowl and toss gently until sweet potatoes are thoroughly coated.
Stack sweet potato slices upright on their edges in vertical rows along perimeter of skillet, following the curve of the pan. Arrange more vertical rows of sweet potatoes down center of skillet to cover entire pan. Be sure to pack sweet potatoes tightly and fill in any gaps with smaller sweet potato slices. Pour any remaining brown butter from bowl over sweet potatoes, then cover skillet tightly with foil.
Bake sweet potatoes until fork-tender, 50–60 minutes. Carefully remove foil and increase oven temperature to 425°. Continue to bake until tops of sweet potatoes are deep golden brown, 30–40 minutes longer.
Scatter more thyme over tian and let cool slightly before serving.
Do Ahead: Tian can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover tightly with foil and chill. Reheat, loosely covered with foil, in a 350° oven until heated through, 40–45 minutes.