So what is a terrine? My online Apple dictionary defines it as: 1. a meat, fish, or vegetable mixture that has been cooked or otherwise prepared in advance and allowed to cool or set in its container; 2. A container used for such a dish, typically of an oblong shape and made of earthenware.
This recipe conforms to both definitions and is a wonderful vegan appetizer. If you’re an eggplant lover, this one’s for you. It takes about an hour of prep time and can be made the day before. In fact, it is best if made the day before so the terrine fully marinates. Bring it to room temperature before serving for best flavor.
4 red bell peppers
2 medium eggplants – cut ¼ inches thick rounds
1 small shallot (peeled and minced)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup organic tofu (mashed)
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (Now appearing at the Farmers’ Market)
Vegetable oil cooking spray
Roast the bell peppers under the broiler until skins begin to bubble and peel. Peppers will almost be black when they are ready. Transfer to a large baggie and close the top carefully (peppers will be plenty hot). Let steam in the baggie until cool enough to the touch – approximately 15 minutes. Peel, seed and skin peppers. Cut into 1-inch wide strips. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. Working in batches, arrange the eggplant rounds on baking sheets in a single layer. Roast until tender – about 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the rounds over after 12 minutes to ensure even cooking. Using a spatula, transfer the rounds to a wire rack to cool (wax paper works well but if you can use a rack it lets the air circulate to both sides).
In a small bowl, combine the shallot, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Set vinaigrette aside.
Spray a terrine with cooking spray (I use a 9×4 inch earthenware loaf pan). Arrange one-third of the eggplant rounds, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the pan. Brush lightly with vinaigrette. Arrange half of the bell pepper strips, slightly overlapping, over the eggplant. Using a rubber spatula spread half of the tofu over the peppers. Top with half of the fresh basil and brush lightly with vinaigrette.
Make another layer of eggplant, vinaigrette, bell pepper, tofu and basil. Brush with vinaigrette. Top with a third layer of eggplant. Brush with vinaigrette. Using your hands, press down firmly but gently on the terrine, compressing the layers.
Cover tightly and marinate, in the refrigerator, for 12 to 24 hours. Carefully un-mold terrine onto a platter and garnish with fresh basil prior to serving.