In mid-summer most of us are starting to wonder what to do with all the zucchini growing in the garden or in the bins at market. Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable and I have used it in myriad ways - zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, zucchini "spaghetti," chilled zucchini veloute, petites farces, in ratatouille and on the grill. I still find myself looking for new ways to prepare this mild flavored vegetable and was excited to try this recipe for a zucchini and basil terrine with a fresh tomato sauce
(or coulis). A terrine is nothing more than a mixture ( vegetable, fruit or meat) that has been cooked and then allowed to chill and set. Terrines are often served sliced and make a pretty presentation. This recipe does take time - and advanced planning- but the results are well worth the effort. The terrine makes a lovely starter or a light lunch served with crusty bread and a crisp white wine.
For the tomato coulis:
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
2 TBS olive oil
1 bouquet garni (2 stalks of parsley, 1 stalk of thyme, 1 bay leaf tied in cheesecloth)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled & whole
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Heat olive oil in a heavy medium pot and add the chopped tomatoes, bouquet garni, garlic, salt & pepper. Reduce flame to medium-low and continue to cook the mixture until it is reduced by half, stirring occasionally and lowering the flame as necessary to avoid burning. Remove the bouquet garni and set sauce aside to cool. Once cool, add the mixture to a Cuisinart and pulse several times to a thick consistency. Avoid over-mixing. Coulis may be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Bring to room temperature before serving.
For the terrine:
2 1/2 pounds medium zucchini
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 TBS olive oil
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup loose basil, sliced into thin slivers (chiffonade)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Rinse and dry the zucchini, top and tail removed. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice the zucchini into very thin slices. Warm the olive oil in a heavy pan, add the chopped onion and cook on a low flame until translucent and soft - do not brown. Add the zucchini slices and continue to cook on a low flame for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has evaporated. Do not allow zucchini to brown. Remove mixture from the flame and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 9" x 5" loaf pan very well. Add the beaten eggs, basil and salt and pepper to taste to the zucchini mixture. Stir to combine and pour into prepared loaf pan. Place loaf pan into a bain-maire ( a large pan filled with water to come up halfway on the loaf pan). Bake for 1 hour. Remove loaf pan from bain-marie and allow to cool on a rack for 1 hour. Run a knife along the sides of the loaf pan and un-mold terrine on a large plate. Carefully slice terrine ( a serrated knife works well) and serve with tomato coulis.
Adapted from Cuisine et Vins de France, mai-juin 2019