A French terrine is basically a glorified meat loaf. Only the French can turn pressed, churned meat into a delicacy. And like everything culinary executed by the French, it is always done with a certain elegance and hauteur, regardless of its origin. Their take on a pizza? Their caramelized onion flambéed, anchovy topped flatbreads are not exactly akin to the greasy and cheesy American takeout variety.
My healthy, vegetarian take on the classic French terrine employs the same techniques (although with less patience) but uses vegetables, goat cheese, and fruit and nut adornments instead of meat. Such an adaptation could be considered a culinary sacrilege to the French, but even some must admit that pressed meat pâté isn’t for everyone. This vegetarian terrine is great to serve to guests as it can be made ahead of time and served cold at a dinner party or apéro.
Sweet potato, 1
Goat cheese, 1 cup
Pistachios, 1/4 cup, shelled
Dried cranberries, 1/4 cup
White wine, 2-3 cups
Herbs de Provence (oregano, thyme, basil), 1 tablespoon
Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC
Slice the zucchini, and sweet potato into thin ribbons.
Slice the white part of the leek.
Peel and slice the onion.
Place the vegetable slices in a dish and sprinkle with herbs de provence, S+P, and cover with white wine. Store in the refrigerator overnight. If you're pressed for time, you can also marinate the vegetables for a couple of hours, but the flavor will not be as deeply infused.
Remove the vegetables from the wine and pat the slices dry. Set aside. Reserve the wine for goat cheese mixture and other recipes.
Melt goat cheese in microwave and mix in herbs, S+P and a splash of the leftover white wine.
Grease a rectangular baking dish (preferably earthenware).
Coat the leeks with a thin layer of goat cheese mixture and place in the baking dish with the goat cheese side facing up, towards you. Cover the leeks with the zucchini slices and then another layer of goat cheese. Continue to alternate the vegetable slices with goat cheese, nuts and dried cranberries until the terrine is filled. Make sure to finish with a sturdy vegetable like the sweet potato on top.
Firmly press on the top layer of the terrine in order to fuse the layers together.
Cover the terrine with foil and place inside a high-rimmed baking sheet filled with hot water reaching 3/4 of the way up the terrine.
Bake for about 1.5 hours, until vegetables are cooked through.
Remove from oven, let cool, and then place in refrigerator overnight. Serve Cold.