Eggplant, zucchini and red bell pepper appear as a flavorful and colorful trio in many dishes, ratatouille especially. I used these hearty vegetables with fresh basil to create a roasted vegetable terrine a few weekends ago. If you’re looking for a fun vegetable dish to cut back on your consumption of meat, this dish requires some planning ahead and isn’t hard to construct.
After brushing with a dressing of lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil, I roasted the eggplant and zucchini on a cast iron grill on a gas stove.
I roasted red and yellow bell peppers directly on an open flame on the stove. I let the peppers cool in covered glass container for about 20 minutes before peeling the outer skin. I then sliced the peppers into flattened quarters, removing the stem, ribs and seeds.
I used a bread pan instead of a terrine since I don’t own one to create this dish. You begin by lining the bottom and sides of the pan with aluminum foil and plastic wrap. You then line the bottom and sides with the roasted eggplant. The eggplant should be flexible and still be oily enough from its baste to keep it from sticking to the plastic wrap. I quickly realized that I did not buy and roast enough eggplant for all the layers I would need for this pan. From the bottom, the idea is to alternate layers of peppers, zucchini, eggplant, basil and softened goat cheese (bring to room temperature for about an hour). My video and pics reveal that I missed an ingredient: fresh basil leaves. I forgot to gather them from the back yard. While I couldn’t disassemble the entire terrine, I made a decision to open the very top and add a layer of basil leaves next to a cheese layer.
After sealing the top of the terrine, you have to wrap the top with overlapping plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Find something flat and heavy to press the top of the terrine to make a condensed loaf. Place in your refrigerator overnight. The terrine should be good for at least 3 days.— a perfect dish to make ahead when you’re entertaining.
When you are ready to serve, unwrap the top and turn your pan or terrine onto a serving platter. Gently remove the wrap and foil from the base and sides of the terrine.
I did learn a few lessons from this first attempt. Buy more vegetables than you think you will need. The success of the dish depends on the size of your pan or terrine. Because I didn’t have enough eggplant, I ended up using more goat cheese than is right for this dish. My terrine was waaaaaaay too cheesy (made the dish too heavy). I recommend only two thin layers of goat cheese. If you buy a roll of the cheese, use a wire cheese cutter to make thin slices to create your cheese layers. The chilled roasted vegetables were outstanding.
Because I had omitted layers of basil, I found and made a recipe for a lemon, garlic and basil cream sauce which we chilled and then poured over the dish when served. You may want to try this sauce on other dishes too.