What better way to impress and say, “I care” to a friend or family member than serving them a colorful, tasty and complicated to make Ricotta Vegetable Terrine? –Well, honesty there are a million other ways… but what the hell I wanted to do something different today and so I took on this somewhat involved and insanely fun task.
When I was in Culinary School many moons ago I was mostly attracted to the complicated recipes, the ones that took days to make and where you grind things up and layer them and wait for days to see the results. I’ve made homemade sausage, pastrami, lox, pates and terrines and sometimes have not always been satisfied with the results, but the anticipation was always the fun part. I guess it’s the foodie scientist in me. Making this vegetable terrine did offer me that feeling of, “Wow I can’t wait to see what all those layers of vegetables are going to look like when I cut into my terrine.” And it is those types of feelings that make life worth living! –just think there are people in the world who don’t even know what a terrine is! Imagine! Poor souls. Ha ha ha…
Before you undertake this task, do some reading on how to use gelatin, it is sort of new territory for me, and I was lucky it worked out, but if you’re a “gelatin novice” put yourself through a, “101 gelatin usage course” there are some great tips on line and they will certainly help because I am sure after you make this terrine you’ll be on a terrine making frenzy because let’s face it, we all have too much time on our hands.
Here is how I did it, and this is what you will need.
Olive oil spray
3 packages of gelatin
1 half of a red, orange and yellow bell pepper, seeded.
1 cup black pitted olives
1/2 lb asparagus
3 cups ricotta
One teaspoon of the following, dried or fresh (fresh is always better) dill, thyme, sage, marjoram and rosemary.
1 chopped garlic clove.
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1) Spray a small loaf pan with olive oil.
2) Steam asparagus, chill under cold water, and set aside.
3) Take 1 1/2 package of gelatin and pour it over a ½ cup of cold water and let it set for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put 3 cups of ricotta in a bowl and add to it the garlic and herbs. Mix and put aside. (You are basically making a Boursin Cheese, a French herb cheese. To the gelatin add ¼ hot water and dissolve. Add the gelatin to the Ricotta mixture and let it set.
4) In a food processor mince separately one half of a red, orange and yellow pepper and one cup black pitted olives. Drain each one after and place in separate bowls. For each bowl you want to dissolve one teaspoon of gelatin by doing the same thing you did for the ricotta but only use two tablespoons of cold water for each teaspoon of gelatin and one tablespoon of hot water for each to dissolve the gelatin. Add this to each bowl and set aside.
5) Place one cup of the ricotta mixture on the bottom on the loaf pan.
6) Lay asparagus and use the tips to place around the side of the pan.
7) Layer more ricotta, and on top of this make stripes of the three ground peppers.
8) In-between each color put the ground olives.
9) Cover with the rest of the ricotta.
10) Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 24 hours.
11) Carefully unmold by placing a flat wide plate over the pan and turning it over tapping on the bottom of the pan. When unmolded, slice carefully and slowly as not to crush it.
12) Serve with salad and bread.