Artist Toulouse Lautrec was purportedly an enthusiastic and particular cook, in addition to his other talents. A number of his favorite recipes were collected by Maurice Joyant, a friend of his, in a pretty, but largely useless volume. Either old Maurice didn't watch very closely, or Toulouse wasn't quite the genius in the kitchen that he was in the studio. Pretty much every recipe is unworkable on its face; no need to try them out.
Trust Jane Grigson to find the only gem among them, and also to notice that its vibrant colors echo those of the Vuillard painting of TL at the stove. The recipe appears in my penguin edition of her excellent Vegetable Book, but without the painting, which is reproduced in the Joyant book. This is the recipe, the garlic having been added by yours truly, who can't make a "pumpkin" tian without it. The "pumpkin" I used was butternut squash, which is a good North American substitute for the sweet little french cooking pumpkin TL would most likely have had to work with.
2 lbs pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, and cut into thin slices, or cubes.
flour with salt and pepper, for dredging
1 lb onions, sliced thin in half moons
butter or spray olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
small can of tomatoes- I use Muir glen fire-roasted, or home-canned
Homemade bread crumbs, or panko
Preheat oven to 350F. Dip the pumpkin in the seasoned flour, and fry until golden in the olive oil. Blot up any excess oilon paper towels. Cook the onion in a little oil until just transparent, but not coloring. Add the tomatoes, garlic and some salt, pepper, and a dash of sugar. Cook down until most of the liquid is gone, but it is still moist. In a shallow, gratin-type pan, layer the pumpkin and the onion mixture, ending in a layer of pumpkin. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs to cover, and either spray with olive oil, or pour a bit of melted butter over. Cook until the pumpkin is thoroughly soft. This may take an hour, or even more, depending on your oven, and the size of the squash pieces. Be sure to allow extra time. If the top has not browned nicely, run it under the broiler.
Good stuff. The "three artists" are TL, Vuillard, and Jane Grigson. Sadly, I can provide no photo of the finished dish, as my computer is on its last legs, and terribly stubborn, especially regarding downloading photos from my camera. After Christmas, I'm getting me a brandy new and shiny one, and photos and postings should resume shortly.
Wishing you all a great Festivus...'til 2008, then, gotta go practice my feats of strength.