I love going food shopping. It doesn’t matter where or when. If fresh produce is involved, I’m in!
For me, internet grocery delivery services will never replace the local market. Purchasing food is a sensory experience just like eating the final product. You have to see it, touch it, pick it up and give it a sniff. How else are you going to know if it is fresh?
The allure of fresh fruits and vegetables trigger an uncontrollable urge within me to impulse buy. While others succumb to a pack of gum or tabloid publication by the checkout stand, I’m adding whatever is fresh and in season to the basket. Sometimes I run out to pick up a shallot and come home with the makings for Veal Prince Orloff and a mixed berry Flaugnarde.
Late spring and summer can be a real test of will power. When the aisles become stocked with Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, and Squash, so does our pantry.
This steady supply of produce encourages me to play the home version of Legumier. From May through September, the dinner menu in our house will feature Parmigiana, Ratatouille, Caponata, Barigoule, and Terrines at one time or another.
The Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Terrine is one of my favorites. It’s easy to make and very versatile. It can be served as an appetizer, vegetable side dish or vegetarian entrée.
It is an excellent choice for a buffet table when entertaining. The dish can be made in advance and served cold. Simply unmold the terrine onto a cutting board and set upon the table just before service. This will allow guests to slice their own servings.
Needless to say, my parents never had any trouble getting me to eat my vegetables as a kid.
- 2 Medium size Eggplants
- 3 Red Peppers
- 2, 16oz bags of Spinach
- ½ cup of shredded Gruyère Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Parchment Paper
Roast Red Peppers until the skins are charred. Place Peppers in a covered bowl and let steam for 5-10 minutes. Remove core, cut open, and lay flat, skin side up. Scrape off and discard charred skin. Set aside until you assemble the terrine (detailed instruction are provided in the “How To” section of this bog).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut Eggplant length-wise into ¾” thick slices. Brush with Olive Oil (A pastry brush works well). Season both sides with Salt and Pepper. Lay slices on a baking tray. Roast in oven for about 10-15 minutes until slices become soft and pliable. Remove from oven and let cool.
Note: Do not overcook the eggplant. The purpose of gently roasting the slices before assembling the terrine is to soften them up, not cook them completely through. They will continue cooking once the terrine is assembled. Overcooking the any of the vegetables will result in a mushy final product.
Bring a large pot of water to boil on top of the stove. Add about 3 Tablespoons of kosher salt. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Blanch the Spinach in the boiling water for a second or two. Transfer to the bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon to stop the cooking process. Drain Spinach thoroughly. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Place spinach on a cutting board and coarsely chop. Break apart any clumps that remain with your fingers.
Lightly oil the inside of a Bread Loaf Pan. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to size.
Begin assembling the terrine by laying a slice of eggplant on the bottom. Cut the slice to fit if necessary or cut an appropriate size piece from another slice to fill any voids. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Lay some of the roasted red peppers on top of the eggplant. Cut the pepper to size so if fits evenly over the eggplant. Season Red Peppers lightly with salt and pepper.
Next, add a layer of spinach evenly over the red pepper. Season Spinach with salt and pepper and sprinkle a small portion of shredded Gruyère Cheese over on top.
Note: Add the cheese sparingly. It is not supposed to be another layer of the terrine. Its sole purpose is to hold the terrine together after it has been baked and cooled.
Repeat layering until the terrine reached the top of the loaf pan. The sequence is eggplant, red pepper, spinach, cheese. Season each layer lightly with salt and pepper. The last layer should be a slice of eggplant. The eggplant slice would be even with the top of the loaf pan.
Brush the top slice lightly with oil. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit on top. Lay the parchment paper over the top slice of eggplant and press down lightly to pack the terrine.
Place the terrine in the oven and bake until the cheese begins to melt, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let terrine cool before serving.
Note: Do not overcook the terrine. It will become soft and mushy
The terrine should be served cold. Remove form loaf pan and cut slices about one inch thick. Serve with a balsamic or red wine vinaigrette.