For a few weeks this past August I wrote a number of posts celebrating summer’s bounty, challenging you to find something new at your own local market and get creative. (Purple scallions, or diva cucumber, anyone?) Inspired, our culinary journey began with simple grilled vegetables, which were then used in a show-stopping Mediterranean-style vegetable sandwich with pesto and two cheeses and an Italian vegetable parmigiania.
Happily, summer favorites like tomatoes, basil, and eggplant will be around for another month or so here in New England. Today’s dish revisits many of the same flavors as my parmigiania but it’s put together in a single-serving presentation that’s elegant enough for company. No need to wait for guests, however: this splendid dinner bursting with Italian flavors is also a perfect weeknight supper. Don’t forget to make a few extra, though, whether for the fridge or freezer. You’ll be glad you did.
Set the oven to 450F degrees, and let’s get cooking.
2. Build the terrine. Spread each eggplant with chèvre and top with tomato sauce or marinara. Build the bottom layer with a tomato slice and a layer of greens that have been sautéed with EVOO, crushed garlic, and a touch of salt and black pepper. (Don’t waste your radish greens! Use them here! Spinach, kale, or chard also work.) Fresh herbs such as basil or parsley are a nice addition, and the cheese can be omitted for vegan variants.
3. Assemble the terrine. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella on the greens, sprinkle with parnigiania or romano cheese, toss on a bit more sauce, and set the final eggplant atop the terrine. Add a slice or two of fresh mozzarella and a final sprinkle of hard cheese, if desired. (Seriously, doesn’t that look divine?)
4. Bake around 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned in places and begins oozing tantalizingly out the side. Let the terrine set 5 minutes before serving.
I love this dish so much that I often eat it alone for dinner, as pictured at the beginning, paired with a side salad. However, it can also be served with whole wheat pasta tossed with EVOO, garlic, and herbs for a heartier meal.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this dish is obviously just a variation on eggplant parmigiania. So why am I calling it a terrine, you ask? It’s because I’ve made this dish a number of times without the sauce, which makes an even cleaner presentation that lets the vegetables sing. I just happened to have leftover sauce in the fridge this particular occasion. This is the long way of saying that you can omit the tomato sauce and just go with roasted vegetables, herbs, and a whisper of goat cheese for a gorgeous dinner-party appetizer or light supper when paired with a side salad or pasta. I’ll throw a photo up here next time I make that version.
In any case, putting vegetables center stage is always the way to go in the creation of healthy eating habits for life.
Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, check out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. Thanks for reading!