While working on a few kebab recipes over the summer, I’ve been facing a dilemma with my side dishes. On the one hand: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and zucchinis are the best things you can buy at farmers markets at the moment. On the other: I can’t serve all my shashlyks with grilled vegetables. This terrine manages to still use the summer vegetables we love, and add some variety. I originally wanted to have all the quintessential ingredients in a single dish, but I felt like that prevented the flavors of each individual component from expressing themselves fully. So I’m planning to make two terrines.
This first terrine contains only tomatoes and peppers — never mind that neither of them is a vegetable, technically speaking! Thanks to the magic of agar agar (which can be purchased here), you can either serve it cold, or warm it in a 200 F oven. It goes great with my lyulya-kebabs or shashlyk Five Fingers!
Yields about 7 oz (enough for 1 terrine)
12 oz overripe tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
- Cut the tomatoes into large dice, and process in a blender with the salt and vinegar until completely puréed. Pour into a strainer lined with a kitchen towel, place over a saucepan, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- Transfer the liquid to a plastic container, and reserve. Discard the contents of the kitchen towel; don’t squeeze the towel to get more liquid out, or your tomato water will turn red!
Summer vegetable terrine
Yields 1 terrine (about 4 servings)
1 large red tomato, weighing 10-12 oz
1 large yellow tomato, weighing 10-12 oz
1 large green tomato, weighing 10-12 oz
1 medium red bell pepper, weighing 8-10 oz
1 medium yellow bell pepper, weighing 8-10 oz
1 medium green bell pepper, weighing 8-10 oz
4 basil leaves
7 oz tomato water
2 g agar agar
- Peel the tomatoes. If they’re ripe enough, you’ll find they can be peeled using only your fingers. Otherwise, you’ll have to first make a shallow X at the bottom with a knife, and plunge them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Core and seed the peeled tomatoes, and keep 6 oz of flesh of each kind (red, yellow, green). Place the flesh on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, season with salt, and dry in a 300 F oven for 30 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel, and return to the oven for another 30 min. Let cool.
- Char the peppers with a blow torch or on a gas stovetop. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Peel the peppers by rubbing them with a paper towel, rinse under cold water, and seed. If at this point the pepper flesh isn’t fully cooked and soft, plunge it for a few minutes in a little bit of boiling water. Keep 3 oz of each kind of pepper, season with salt, and let cool.
- Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water, then drain and reserve.
- Bring the tomato water to a boil in a small saucepan. Mix in a pinch of salt and the agar agar with a flat whisk, boil for another 30 seconds, and reserve.
- Line a 5.5″ x 3″ x 2″ loaf pan with parchment paper, and pour a little bit of tomato water. Cover the bottom with the basil leaves. Arrange the green pepper, green tomato, yellow pepper, yellow tomato, red pepper, and red tomato in successive layers. Pour some tomato water between each layer, and sprinkle some piment d’espelette on the red tomato.
- Cook in a 300 F oven for 15 minutes. Let cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
- Serve the terrine cold, or reheat in a 200 F oven (you don’t want the internal temperature of the terrine to exceed 150 F, or the agar will start melting). Unmold and slice.