IMG_3107Here’s an easy vegetable recipe that’s perfect for summer and pretty enough to garner oohs and aahs from dinner guests. You can serve it as a starter, but I liked it as a side to a vegetarian daube that was the main. I wanted a side dish that was structured, so the non-meat-eaters wouldn’t have a plate full of lumpy mush. Of course the vegetarian daube had vegetables but it’s nice to have variety on the plate. And it was an appealing addition for the guests who had steak.

Terrines are classic in French cuisine. Often they’re made with meat or fish. You can have a terrine of foie gras, but that isn’t the same as pâté of foie gras–a terrine is made of pieces layered into a deep, rectangular dish of the same name, and baked, whereas pâté is smooth–a paste. (If you see a circumflex, the hat symbol like this: ˆthen insert an “s” after the letter wearing the hat and you’ll probably recognize the word in English. Examples include forêt/forest), hôpital/hospital, rôti/roast. But the circumflex gets used for other things, too, such as differentiating when a word is spelled the same but means something completely different like sur (on) vs. sûr (sure/certain).)

In this case, the terrine might not be officially a terrine because I didn’t bake it. On the other hand, some of the fish terrines are made cold. Who cares, right? Restaurants are making ever-greater leaps of imagination in the naming of their dishes so that it’s hard to guess what will show up. I got the idea from things I’ve eaten and photos online and combined the parts I liked while omitting the things I didn’t. For example, one recipe called for frozen peas, but it’s summer and I have a bounty of fresh vegetables at my fingertips, so I used fresh zucchini. Don’t worry about the proportions too much–it will turn out fine with a little more carrot or a little less ricotta. Just make sure you really cook the vegetables you choose, otherwise you’ll have a hard time getting a pretty, clean slice.

The only hitch is that it really needs to be made the day before so it can set. But that’s usually a plus when entertaining, isn’t it?IMG_3099Vegetable Terrine  

2-3 carrots, cut into small pieces

2 zucchini, cut into small pieces

3 red peppers (or red, yellow, green), WHOLE!

A bunch of fresh basil or other herbs, chopped finely

1 packet of unflavored gelatin (about 8 grams)

1 cup (25 cl) crème fraîche or half and half cream

400-ish grams (about 1 2/3 cups) ricotta (I had a 500g tub and used some of it for the tarte soleil and carrot rillettes in my earlier post)

Roast the peppers. The easiest way is to put them whole on the grill–they are easier to turn and it’s easier to roast the curvy parts. You also can do it under a broiler. When the skin is charred all over, put the peppers in a paper or plastic bag to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half from stem to bottom to remove the seeds. Remove the skins.

IMG_3063
Way easier to roast and to peel when the peppers are whole.

Line a loaf pan with plastic film. Leave plenty of overlap so that you have enough to fold over the top. Push the film down into the corners. You want it to really follow the pan or your terrine will have a weirdly shaped top.

Cut the carrots into small pieces. Cook in boiling water until they’re soft. Lift them out with a slotted spoon, and put into a bowl to cool. Keep the cooking water. Drop the zucchini into the same water and cook until soft. Strain and put into a separate bowl.

IMG_3059
Mashed carrot and mashed zucchini. I left the skin on the zucchini to get more color.

In a small bowl, put about 1/2 cup of water, then sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let it sit while you mash the carrots and the zucchini separately with a fork or potato masher. It’s very easy and not worth the cleanup of a blender or food processor. Season each with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, mix the ricotta with the herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the cream. Add the dissolved gelatin and stir. Then split the cream mixture three ways–into the carrots, the zucchini and the ricotta.

You have some options here. I saw a gorgeous photo of a terrine with a glistening red top of pepper, but I think that next time I’ll cut strips and make a design of diagonal stripes. In any case, set down your terrine top in the bottom of the loaf pan. If you use entire halves of pepper, squeeze them close together so you don’t end up with gaps.

Then pour in the layer of ricotta, then the layer of carrot, then the layer of zucchini. I did it like that for maximum color contrast, not to have the orange carrot next to the red pepper. You can get fancy and, for example, have extra carrots that you cut in half lengthwise and cook until they’re very tender. Just lay them down lengthwise in the dish and pour the mixture over them and they’ll show up very pretty when you cut it open. If you have extra pepper you can make another layer with that. IMG_3067Fold the plastic film back over the top and refrigerate for at least six hours. When it’s time to serve, peel back the film and place a plate or tray over the loaf pan, then flip the entire thing, remove the pan and peel off the plastic film. I wouldn’t try to lift it out and turn it over.

My terrine pan is enormous: 11″x7″ (28x18cm). In the future I will do it with a smaller loaf pan, 9″x5″ (23x13cm) so that the layers will be thicker and prettier.

This is one of those high-impact, pretty dishes that’s easy to make. You can get creative, with different vegetables and pieces of vegetables that make designs when cut. Why not!!

 

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “French Vegetable Terrine

  1. Yum, scrumptious! Cooking can be so rewarding and fun, it is my creative outlet. I love that you are practical and use a regular masher rather than a food processor for simple tasks like this. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds wonderful! One doesn’t really need so many gadgets to cook. After all humans have been eating cooked food for thousands of years and since we are all here today, they must have done some things right. I would suggest to cook the veggies first, it’s easier to chop them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I do a LOT of roasted veggies and contrary to you I cut them in large chunks or stripes and roast them in oil in the frying pan. I never put a lid on to keep the ‘ crisp bite’ and as for peas, I like the frozen ones, they are so fresh & cooked in a minute or so – I then make anything out of them, cold soup, purée, mix them with other stuff – I like the liberty of buying what’s in season and play with my imagination and fridge content. It’s always good and fun to make. And yes, guests as well as family are always happy – thanks for sharing your life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The peppers are roasted for two reasons —to remove the skins and to soften them enough to be easy to cut. I never tried to peel peppers cooked in oil. Previously I roasted them cut up in large pieces in the oven or broiler or on the grill but doing them whole was so much easier and more effective.

      Like

  3. That takes me back years and years, when I was working in London in a hotel on Piccadilly! we used to have a vegetable terrine on the menu, which was made in one of the Le Creuset terrine dishes, the long and fairly narrow ones. The filling was all multicolored and full of whole vegetable strips, arranged into a pretty pattern – very fiddly to make but it looked great on the plate! Your version sounds much more straightforward to make and just as delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.