I love the simplicity and rustic nature of this dish. A layered tower of tender vegetables slide into a colorful mound on the plate. Tear off a chunk of crusty bread and soak up the juices. This is the perfect simple meal for early spring when you want an easy dish to prepare with a few pantry basics. I often make this recipe on a day of cleaning out the gardens. It's a nice afternoon break to make the dish. It then bakes for almost two hours while I head back out. Upon my return - dirty, tired and cold - a warm dinner welcomes me, and so good it smells.
When I say the dish has a rustic simplicity, this is actually quite the opposite of what anything 'terrine' typically conjures. A terrine, part of classical French cooking, refers to an oblong baking dish with deep sides in which ground or finely chopped and seasoned meats, or sometimes vegetables, are layered. It's either baked in a bain-marie (water bath) or molded by refrigerating. When the loaf is unmolded and sliced, the pretty layering is revealed. Often an intricate sauce is part of the recipe. I have great admiration for French cuisine, the Art of French Baking on my counter as I write. One its authors is Cloutide Dusoulier. She writes a wonderful French food blog, Chocolate and Zucchini. and has several charming and authentic French recipes for terrines, including one with zucchini, carrots, herbs, eggs and goat cheese. Soon I will make her recipe. For now, I'm absorbed by the rose garden my husband and I are adding to our yard and myriad other projects. My cooking this Spring is efficient and healthful, to the point and meant to please all of us.
This SimplyCooking® recipe breaks the rules for terrines. The process is far simpler, the ingredients basic; it's a broader interpretation that turns 'terrine' into a simple everyday recipe.
1/4 cup grape seed oil
2 cloves peeled garlic
2 medium potatoes, Yukon Gold can be unpeeled
1 medium onion, peeled
1/2 bell pepper
3 carrots, peeled
spinach leaves, about 1 cup
Salt, Celtic Sea Salt preferable
1 tsp. dried oregano (or thyme, or rosemary)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 generous tsp. honey
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
Parmesan or goat cheese, grated (optional)
Measure out the oil and place peeled garlic cloves in the cup. Set aside while you prepare the dish.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice the vegetables (except spinach) very thinly, as thin as you can. Brush he sides and bottom of a loaf pan with some of the garlic oil, reserving the remainder for later. Layer half of the vegetables in the pan, starting with the potatoes and ending with the spinach. Arrange them neatly, pressing down as you go. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Repeat the layering. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and 1 tsp. dried oregano. Empty the canned tomatoes into a bowl and stir in a generous spoonful of honey. Drizzle the liquid over the vegetables and arrange the tomatoes over the top. The pan will be mounded. Cover tightly with heavy duty foil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 1 hour.
Remove the foil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and the reserved garlic infused oil. Bake an additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before serving. Slice and top with a little grated Parmesan or goat cheese.
Note: The leftovers are even better, I think. Let the baking dish cool, cover with wrap and refrigerate, storing the leftovers in the original baking dish.