NOLA Vegetable Terrine
This surprising and elegant first course looks like a mosaic of jewels on the plate. It can be made a day or two in advance, and makes a stunning buffet platter.
- Roasted Garlic Puree
- Garlic - 12 heads, separated into cloves
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Freshly cracked black pepper - 1 teaspoon
- Globe Eggplant - 1, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
- Yellow Squash - 1, sliced thin
- Zucchini - 1, sliced thin
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Vegetable Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Red Onions - 3, thinly sliced
- Spinach - 1 pound, stemmed
- Provolone Cheese - 30 to 40 slices
- Red Bell Pepper - 1 large, roasted, seeded, and deribbed
- Carrot - 1, peeled, blanched, and sliced
- Yellow Bell Pepper - 1 large, roasted, seeded, and deribbed
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Red Pepper Puree - 1/2 cup
- Spinach - 1 pound, stemmed
- Rosemary Sprigs - 12
- Basil leaves - 6, stemmed and cut in chiffonade
- Whole Chive Stems - 24
To roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Peel the garlic cloves. Toss with the olive oil and pepper and place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Fold the foil around the garlic to form a bag and roast until tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the roasted garlic slightly, press the pulp from the cloves, and puree.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the eggplant, squash, and zucchini slices flat on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 4 to 5 minutes, or until just wilted. Set aside.
In a large saute pan or skillet, saute the red onions in oil until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan, cover, and chill. In the same pan saute the spinach until just wilted and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Thoroughly oil a small bread pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Line the pan with plastic wrap so that the plastic hangs over the edges of the pan. Oil the plastic wrap with more extra-virgin olive oil. Line the bottom and sides of the inside of the pan with slices of provolone cheese, overlapping the slices slightly. Cover with overlapping slices of eggplant so that the eggplant is hanging over the edge of the pan by 1-1/2 to 2 inches. Rub the eggplant lightly with the roasted garlic puree. Place a layer of cheese over the garlic. Top with a thin layer of sauteed red onions. Top with a layer of cheese and press down firmly. Top with a layer of roasted red bell pepper and another layer of cheese. Then a layer of yellow squash and again cheese. Press down firmly. Add a thin layer of sauteed spinach and top with cheese, then carrots, more cheese, bell pepper, and finally cheese. Press down firmly once again. Top with a layer of onions and a final layer of cheese. Press firmly.
Fold the eggplant over the top of the mold to form a seal. Fold over and seal the plastic. Place the pan in a baking pan. Add water to a depth of 1 inch in the baking pan. Place in the oven and bake 45 minutes. Chill overnight.
To serve: Sprinkle the plates with a little freshly cracked black pepper and drizzle a bit of red pepper puree on each plate. Arrange spinach, rosemary, and basil on the plates and cross each with two whole chives. Take the terrine out of the refrigerator. Unwrap the top of the plastic and use the plastic to lift the terrine from the pan. Unwrap and remove the plastic. Slice with a sharp serrated knife or electric knife and place a slice on each prepared plate. Serve cold or at room temperature.