This vegetable terrine was inspired by Blaise, a regular PhamFatale reader, who suggested this vegetarian dish. I adapted it this week in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo. I layered grilled eggplant, tri-color roasted bell peppers, sweet basil leaves, celery, fresh pineapple, black beans and a lot of Oaxacan cheese.
The key to creating the terrine is to make sure the layers of flavors are tightly packed to showcase the colorful display. I garnished the vegetable terrine with shredded red oak leaf lettuce, diced avocado and crumbled queso fresco (Thank you, Queso Del Valle!). The last step is a flavorful salad dressing; I prepared this one with delicious champagne vinegar from our good friends at Bellindora.
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Servings: 8 servings
½ (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or honey)
juice of 3 clementines (or limes)
¼ cup freshly sliced pineapple
¼ cup Champagne pear vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
3 large eggplants
2 tablespoons kosher salt
5 small bell peppers (2 red, 2 yellow, 1 orange)
¾ cup olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, freshly grated
1 (5-ounce) package Oaxacan cheese
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 celery stalk, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
2 avocados, diced and drizzled with the juice of 1 lime
2 cups shredded lettuce
4 cups fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
½ (4.5-ounce) can củ kiệu (store-bought pickled spring onions), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons queso fresco, crumbled
For 1 cup of vinaigrette:
In a mini-blender (or a regular blender if you don't have a mini), combine the Dijon mustard, juice of the clementines, Champagne pear vinegar, 1 tablespoon pineapple, agave nectar and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup olive oil and briefly pulse 2-3 times. Set aside.
Roasting the bell peppers in the oven: Preheat your oven to 450°F. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise. Seed them and spread the peppers evenly on a cookie sheet brushed with oil, in a single layer. Roast the peppers for about 4-5 minutes until the skins blister and darken. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Wrap each pepper in aluminum foil. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes until you can handle them without discomfort. Clean and remove the skin and seeds from the peppers using a knife (or under running water); the skin will come right off. Even out the flesh, horizontally.
Cooking the eggplant:
Trim and thinly slice the eggplants lengthwise. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit, then pat dry with paper towels. Brush a griddle pan with oil. Add the eggplant slices and cook on both sides for 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let cool.
Separate the Oaxacan cheese into long, thin strips. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, red chili flakes and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Toss well.
Brush the mold (see tips) with cold water and line with plastic wrap for easy un-molding. Place slices of grilled eggplant overlapping each other on one side and red bell peppers on the other. Add half the amount of Oaxacan cheese, black beans and basil leaves, making sure they're pressed and tightly packed. Add half amount of the sliced celery, pineapple, pickled spring onions and the bell pepper remnants. Press down one more time and repeat the same layers up to the top (base). Fold the dangling pieces of eggplant onto the base of the mold. Cover with the remaining eggplant slices.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
When you're ready to serve, gently un-mold the terrine by running a knife around the inner wall of the mold. Flip the mold onto a long platter and gently remove the plastic liner.
Garnish with lettuce on one side and basil and avocado on the other. Sprinkle the top with crumbled queso fresco.
Drizzle with the vinaigrette or serve on the side.
This eggplant dish is fairly healthy. You could double the amount of cheese if you like.
You could replace the selected vegetable in this recipe with zucchini or other grilled vegetables.
I used Belllindora Champage pear vinegar and Queso Del Valle Oaxacan cheese and queso fresco.
I use the same mold for making strawberry cheesecake and vegetarian pâté.
This is a 16"-long stainless-steel triangle-shape mold. You could use any mold you have on hand, such as a rectangular cake pan.