Roasted Eggplant and Bell Pepper Terrine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 medium (2 pounds total) eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch-wide strips *
1/4 cup fromage blanc or low-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Brush two baking sheets with oil. Working in batches, arrange eggplant rounds on baking sheets in a single layer. Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes, turning rounds over after about 12 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Using a spatula, transfer rounds to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.

In a small bowl, combine shallot, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until smooth. Set vinaigrette aside.

Brush a 9 x 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan with oil, and line the pan with plastic wrap. Arrange one-third of the eggplant rounds, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the pan. Brush lightly with the reserved vinaigrette. Arrange half of the bell pepper strips, slightly overlapping, over the eggplant. Using an offset spatula, spread half of the fromage blanc over the bell peppers. Top with half of the basil. Brush with the vinaigrette.

Make another layer of eggplant, vinaigrette, bell pepper, fromage blanc, and basil; brush with the vinaigrette. Top with a third layer of the eggplant; brush with the vinaigrette. Using your hands, press down firmly but gently on the terrine, compressing the layers.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap; marinate, refrigerated, 12 to 24 hours. To serve, unmold terrine onto a serving platter; garnish with basil. Serve.

* Place the peppers directly on the trivet of a gas-stove burner over high heat or on a grill. Just as each section turns puffy and black, turn the pepper with tongs to prevent over cooking. (If you donít have a gas stove, place the peppers on a baking pan, and broil in the oven, turning as each side becomes charred.) Transfer the peppers to a large bowl, and cover immediately with plastic wrap. The juices, which can be added to the liquid component of the recipe for deeper flavor, will collect in the bowl. Let the peppers sweat until they are cool enough to handle, approximately 15 minutes. The steam will help to loosen the skin.

Serves 6

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