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Terrines: Layers of Fresh Flavor

April 26, 2010

Vegetable terrine image: Raburabunakamachi

As the weather heats up and you start to crave colder, more refreshing dinner options, consider the terrine.

Originating in France, a terrine is a loaf-like meal made of compressed ingredients that are typically heated and then served cold. It is prepared in a rectangular earthenware pan like the one seen below, also called a terrine.

Le Creuset terrine,

Often terrines are composed of distinct layers of ingredients, meaning that when the terrine is sliced and served it becomes a visual treat as well as a tasty one. Both sweet and savory varieties exist, though savory terrines of fatty meats and herbs are most popular.

But there are no hard and fast rules for what a terrine should include. One of my favorite recipes comes from Emeril Legasse and  is composed entirely of roasted vegetables and herbed goat cheese. It makes for a colorful, impressive and healthy meal just perfect for a warm summer night.

This is a simple recipe, but there are a lot of steps and it requires at least 8 hours to chill so that the layers can fuse correctly. But believe me when I tell you it is well worth it. Also, keep in mind that due to the delicate nature of terrines they are difficult to save and should be consumed upon preparation. And if you don’t have a terrine pan, a loaf pan similar to what you’d cook banana bread in would work as well.

Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Terrine

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for oiling pans
  • 1 (1-pound) globe eggplant, stem and bottom ends trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pound zucchini, stem and bottom ends trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow squash, stem and bottom ends trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces soft, mild goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large red bell peppers (about 1 pound), roasted, cored, seeds and skins removed, cut into 3 or 4 large pieces
  • 16 ounces fresh spinach, washed, stems removed, then blanched, squeezed dry, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large yellow bell peppers (about 1 pound), roasted, cored, seeds and skins removed, cut into 3 or 4 large pieces
  • 1 recipe Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Line 2 large baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease with olive oil. Arrange some of the eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash slices in a single layer on the sheets, slightly overlapping them. Brush with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake until soft and just golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining vegetable slices.

In a large bowl, combine the goat cheese with the basil, parsley, and extra-virgin olive oil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and mix well.

In a 6-cup terrine (12 by 3 by 3 inches), arrange the eggplant slices crosswise over the bottom and up the sides, overlapping the slices to completely cover the terrine. The ends of the slices should overhang the sides of the terrine. Top the eggplant with thin layers of red bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, and yellow bell pepper. Crumble a layer of the goat cheese mixture on top of the yellow bell pepper, and repeat the layering with the remaining vegetable slices. Bring the overhanging eggplant slices up over the terrine. Wrap the terrine loosely in plastic wrap. Top with an equal-size terrine or a piece of cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil. Place a brick or heavy pot on top of the terrine and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or for up to 24 hours.

Remove the terrine from the refrigerator. Remove the weight and unwrap. Slice with a very sharp knife and serve 1 thick or 2 thin slices per person with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce.

Sun Dried Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 cup tightly packed sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed), reconstituted in hot water and drained
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper and puree on high speed. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil through the feed tube and process until well combined. Pour into a container until ready to serve.

Yield: about 2 cups

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 26, 2010 8:24 am

    Mmmm, sounds so good. I need me a terrine!!

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