Roasted-Vegetable Terrine with Parmesan Wafers
Colorful layers of tomato, eggplant. zucchini, and bell peppers are pressed into a chilled terrine bursting with flavor. Clever garnishes add a spark to this classic French dish: curls of deep-fried eggplant skins and crispy wafers of Parmesan cheese.
- Plum (Roma) Tomatoes - 6
- Olive Oil - 6 tablespoons
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Eggplants - 2 large
- Zucchini - 2
- Red and Green Bell Pepper - 1 each, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Peanut oil for deep-frying
- Parmesan Wafers
- Parmesan cheese - 5 tablespoons, sifted, finely grated
- All-Purpose Flour - 1 tablespoon
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Balsamic Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Baby Mixed Greens - 2 cups, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 180 F. Core and cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and shake out most of the seeds. Place the tomatoes in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes, skin-side down, on a baking sheet and bake until dried but still soft, about 2-1/2 hours. Remove the tomatoes and place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Cover the tomatoes with a towel and refrigerate if not using immediately.
Peel the eggplant in wide strips and reserve the peel. Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer, and sprinkle both sides lightly with salt. Slice the unpeeled zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let the vegetables stand for 20 minutes to render their water. Dry the slices with paper towels. Cut the peppers into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
In a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and fry a few of the eggplant slices slowly in one layer, turning them often, until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Repeat to cook the remaining eggplant slices, then the zucchini slices. As the vegetables brown, remove them from the pan and lay them on paper towel-lined baking sheets. Add more olive oil to the saute pan or skillet as necessary. Pat the slices dry with paper towels and chill if not assembling the terrine immediately.
To prepare the terrine mold: Line four 3-inch-wide ramekins, 2 inches deep, with plastic wrap, leaving a 3-inch overhang all around. Place one-fourth of the eggplant slices in each of the molds, letting the ends hang over the sides. Press the zucchini slices around the sides of the molds, pressing into place with your fingers. Sprinkle the layers with salt and pepper. Layer one-fourth of the red pepper strips around the sides of the molds, pressing the peppers against the sides with your fingers. Next layer one-fourth of the red pepper strips around the side of each mold, pressing the peppers against the sides with your fingers. Next, layer one-fourth of the green pepper strips around the sides, pressing them against the red pepper strips. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Fit pieces of the roasted tomato into the centers of the molds and lay one tomato half on top of each. Press down to compact the layers and check to see that the mold is packed full; if not, fill in the spaces with small pieces of the appropriate color of vegetable. The terrine should be very tightly packed, with all of the vegetables pressed tightly against the sides.
Pull the overhanging slices of eggplant over the tops of the molds and press, then pull the plastic wrap tightly over the molds. Place the terrines on a baking sheet and place another baking sheet on top of them. Add a 5-pound weight to the top and chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
To make the eggplant-skin curls: Cut the reserved eggplant skin into long, very fine julienne. Fill a heavy- medium saucepan to a depth of 2 inches with peanut oil and heat to 350 F, or until a breadcrumb immediately sizzles and floats to the top when dropped in. Fry the strips until they crisp and curl, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
To make the Parmesan wafers: In a small bowl, combine the cheese and flour. In a medium non-stick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, sprinkle about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the mixture in an oval shape and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. As the cheese melts and forms a wafer it will turn golden brown, about 1-1/2 minutes. Turn the wafer carefully and let it brown on the second side, about 45 seconds.
Carefully remove the wafer from the pan with a wide spatula and curl it over a glass placed on its side to give it a curved shape. Repeat to make 4 wafers. The wafers will become more crisp as they cool and dry and can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time. Set them aside in a cool, dry place until ready to serve.
Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste together, then toss the greens in the mixture.
To serve: Open the plastic wrap on the top of each terrine and pat the vegetables with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Invert each terrine onto the center of a serving plate and remove the plastic wrap completely. Top the terrines with some of the deep-fried eggplant skin curls. Place a Parmesan wafer on one side of each terrine, and garnish the plates with the dressed baby greens.