Even though my father doesn't like eggplant in general, he loves this terrine from Jacques Pepin and we've made it several times. Once he even insisted in making it during winter, so instead of serving it cold, we baked it and served the whole thing hot, worked great.
This eggplant terrine is a perfect dish for summer entertainment—layers of roasted eggplant, Mozzarella cheese, red pepper and parsley, chilled in a terrine form, and covered with a gazpacho-like sauce.
Eggplant and Red Pepper Terrine
Use high-quality, soft, fresh Mozzarella (the kind packed in water in the refrigerated section of the grocery store).
- Terrine ingredients:
- 3 large red bell peppers (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 large, firm eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups loosely-packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz of fresh Mozzarella, cut into 1/8-in slices, about 14 slices
- Raw tomato sauce:
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 to 3 ripe tomatoes (1 1/4 pounds), each cut into 6 to 8 pieces
- 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Blacken and peel the red peppers:
Arrange the red peppers on a broiling pan and place them under a hot broiler so that their upper surfaces are about 1/2 inch from the heat.
Broil for 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the peppers are blistered and black on all sides. (You can alternatively blacken the peppers directly over the open flame of a gas cook-top, holding them and turning them with tongs.)
Place them in a bowl and cover the bowl with a plate. Let the peppers steam in their own residual heat inside the bowl for 10 minutes. Then peel them (the skin will slide off) and remove the seeds.
Note that Trader Joe's makes an excellent bottled cooked red pepper that can be used as a shortcut to the above step.
Grill the eggplants:
Heat a grill or grill pan until very hot. Cut the eggplants into 1/2-inch slices and lay out flat on a large flat surface such as a baking pan. Brush the slices on both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Cook the eggplant slices on the grill, covered, for 4 minutes on each side, until they are nicely browned and softened. If your grill does not have a lid, make a tent-like lid of aluminum foil and place it over the eggplant as it cooks.
Blanch the parsley:
While the eggplant is grilling, soften the parsley by blanching it in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds. Remove, cool under cold water, drain.
Build the terrine:
Line a terrine mold (loaf pan) with plastic wrap. Arrange a layer of eggplant in the bottom of the mold and top it with about a third each of the red pepper pieces, parsley, and cheese.
Repeat, beginning and ending with a layer of eggplant, until all the ingredients are used.
Cover with plastic wrap and press down on the wrap to compact the mixture. Refrigerate.
At this point you can make the terrine in advance and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.
Prepare the sauce:
Place the garlic and tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth. Push the mixture through a food mill (fitted with a fine screen) over a bowl. Add the remainder of the sauce ingredients. Mix well.
To serve, pour some of the sauce on a large platter and un-mold the terrine in the center. Cut it into slices and serve with the remainder of the sauce.
Adapted from Jacques Pepin's Today's Gourmet II: Light and Healthy Cooking for the '90s.