New Potato Tian With Sautéed Onions, Garlic, and Pecorino

Potatoes. They are everywhere. Like a F150 pickup. Everywhere you look.

It’s not that I don’t like potatoes; I do. Like most of you, I grew up eating baked potatoes and mashed potatoes, French fries and hash browns. When hasselbacks emerge from the oven, crusty and golden, garlicky and soft, I’ll be the first to spoon half a dozen to my plate.


I’m nuts about au gratin, that sloppy, creamy potato casserole plumped full with butter, milk and several different kinds of cheese—you and I both know that’s pure comfort on a plate.

And if it’s Chanukah and you bring latkes, you’ll make me one happy girl – in fact, that’s true if it’s Chanukah or not.

But all these facts notwithstanding, in this household, we hardly ever buy potatoes. I think the last time they were in my grocery cart was circa 2010, and as strange as that sounds when you consider my earlier admissions, the reason’s pretty simple. It comes down to two words:

Sweet potatoes.

Because when I’m standing in the produce section, faced with the choice of either a bag of hearty Idahos or their long and orange counterparts, the sweet potatoes win every time (well, the sweet potatoes or the yams, to be more clear, because the differences between the two have never struck me as important enough to change the way I use them).

Sweet potatoes can be used almost interchangeably in traditional potato recipes: as fries, in roasted rounds, mashed, in casseroles, as latkes, baked whole. What’s more, they do much more – add them to smoothies! Try them in brownies! Roast and puree them and use them for pies!

And their nutritional profile is so rich: beta carotene! vitamin C! antioxidants! anti-inflammatory! helpful in regulating blood sugar!


Still though, sometimes, looking at the jewel yams or purple sweet potatoes in my shopping bag and thinking of the white potatoes that have been overlooked, I can’t help feeling a little like I’m watching a kid not get picked for a baseball team or quietly looking the other way while a friend gets passed over for a promotion.

I know, rationally, that outside of my little universe, the traditional potato is far from underappreciated, but still, just knowing how often I pass them by sends my maternal instincts to work.

Comparisons can be so unfair. Nobody likes to be left out. Ask any writer: rejection stinks. Furthermore, it’s not like I’m talking about a jelly doughnut or a beer-battered onion ring, here. Potatoes are whole foods!

Close up of New Potato Tian in a white ceramic cup.

So when our CSA delivers Tennessee-grown heirloom fingerlings and about a dozen new potatoes in our biweekly box, the part of me that roots for underdogs rejoices. See, Potatoes, I think while I stack them in the pantry, we do like you, too!


And then, since the return of potatoes to our kitchen warrants something special and celebratory, something both pretty to look at and delightful to eat, we make a tian: a combination of thinly sliced rounds with sauteed onions and garlic, chicken broth, Pecorino and a slow bake. Delicately arranged into what looks almost like a flower or a bloom, the tian takes its place at the table like the supper star.

Sure, you could do the same thing with sweet potatoes, but today, at least today, we don’t.

Close up of New Potato Tian in a white ceramic cup.

New Potato Tian With Sautéed Onions, Garlic, and Pecorino

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4-6 servings 1x


Are you looking for a beautiful dish that’s tasty and fun to eat? Try a potato tian. This is a made with thinly sliced rounds arranged into a flower pattern that is smothered in sautéed onions and garlic and chicken broth. Topped with Pecorino cheese and slow baked, it’s easy to make but looks like a million bucks.



  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 new potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 8 to 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 to 2 ounces Pecorino cheese, shredded
  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Once warm and melted, add onion, letting the slices turn translucent. Add garlic. Cook until golden and caramelized. Add onion-garlic mixture to the bottom of a medium baking dish (I used an oval) and spread out as much as you can.
  3. Next place the sliced potatoes in the dish, in one single layer, arranging them into a circular pattern. Once you have it the way you like, pour chicken stock all over the top. Add the leaves of the thyme. Salt and pepper liberally all over. Cover everything with cheese.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil or parchment and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cover, drizzle olive oil over the top, and return to oven for 10 to 20 more minutes. Remove when potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: new potatos, tian, Pecorino cheese, comfort food

What about you? Did you make this tasty recipe and love it as much as we did? If so, let us know your thoughts in the comments below and please give it a rating!

Looking for more tasty potato recipes? Some of these will tickle your tummy:

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home,, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

35 thoughts on “New Potato Tian With Sautéed Onions, Garlic, and Pecorino”

  1. i’m the exact opposite, i do not like the colored sweet potatoes (unless they’re fried, in which case, i’m all in), i bypass those more often than not. i love how pretty & fancy this dish looks!

      • no girl. i have a problem with colored food in that i ate the white potato first so therefore it has to be white, even tho the purple & orange variety are natural… i don’t eat blue food (blueberries don’t count) and don’t get me started on st. patty’s day green stuff…

  2. You know, I don’t have nearly enough sweet potato in my life. Earthy pecorino and earthy spuds – a match made in tian heaven.

    • You know, when I read back over this post, even with the recipe for new potatoes, it’s sweet potatoes I want. Poor, poor potatoes.

  3. I’ve actually never made a tian, have to now (you had me at Pecorino :-)) You’re also reminding me I have to sign up for CSA asap! Life and time are short… we must savor the (sweet or white) potatoes of life for all they’re worth! 😉

    • So true, Helene! And tians are new to me, too. I’ve also seen them with rounds of zucchini and tomato. The possibilities are endless!

  4. The potato has had some really bad press over the last ten years or so but, as you rightly say, it is a whole food and there is very little in life that’s better than a good potato. Garlic, thyme and a touch of pecorino are really the perfect complements.

  5. I just said to Brad last night “I LOVE potatoes.” We haven’t eaten them for ages either, but this summer we decided if they show up in our CSA box, it’s fair game.

    And oh my word, potatoes are so good. Especially those new potatoes that actually taste like hot sun and fresh breezes. I’m being overdramatic, but I really missed the potato.

    I’ll chime in with everyone else to say your purpose in this space has been clear to me since the first day I started reading (and it’s something you put out there right away and I adore): talking about food to talk about everything else. And by “everything else,” I mean truth, all that is good, and the importance of stories.

  6. Because it’s Julia Child’s birth month feel I must mention this: “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

  7. I have the opposite problem…I never buy sweet potatoes! I’ve never really been a big fan of them, but perhaps I need to try them in something like this. 🙂

  8. We have a friend who always puts sweet potatoes in his smoothies and swears he finds them so crazy sweet now (kind of like bananas) and I find that so fascinating!

  9. Yes, we always had the, not so admired now, white Idaho !
    We had baby reds, and Yukon golds, and it was a love affair
    for sure. When you mentioned Latkes, my mouth began to water.
    This is one of my all time tops ! The potatoes must
    be grated, the onion too. They are not just for Hanukkah for
    they are craved too much. So, here’s to the potato, with a
    new respect, a whole….. and most delicious comforting food! Mom (:

    • Haha, Mom, your comments always kill me. Don’t go crazy with those potatoes now—a little greens to balance it out, OK? : )

  10. I’m curious about the word “tian”. I couldn’t find it in any dictionary, other than things related to Chinese – nothing related to food.
    You mentioned Potatoes Au Gratin – my Mother made them with potatoes, onions, (both pre-cooked in water), a white sauce with Cheddar cheese and topped with crumbled bacon. Yummee!!
    I love your recipes – the simplicity of them and all the new idea. Thanks!!

    • Hi Sharon! I believe it comes from France. According to online dictionaries, the most common definitions of tian are:

      1. A dish of finely chopped vegetables cooked in olive oil and then baked au gratin
      2. A large oval earthenware cooking pot traditionally used in Provence

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