For this dish, I was inspired by my cousin Emily, queen of all things sandwich, and by
The Chubby Vegetarian. Hello ... Just when I was thinkin' I was unique and creative, in walks the Chubby Vegetarian and his grilled vegetable terrine. ;)
Now, I didn't end up making a terrine, nor did I barbecue. I don't even have a barbecue. Sorry. I hope that didn't make you cover your eyes in disgust. What I did instead was oven roast my sliced vegetables until they were reduced in water content and very sweet, simmer down my grape tomatoes until they were reduced and vivacious, and drain both my ricotta and my spinach very well. So, I started with very little moisture in my dish, and didn't need to press it out. I layered vegetables with goat cheese, and with ricotta, and then baked it all for a couple of hours.
The results were a many layered affair with a symphony of flavour and colours. Pretty, and yummy.
I used a 12 inch springform pan (those are those cool ones that have the detachable base so you can easily remove whatever you bake in it) lined with a circle of parchment and coated well with coconut oil. Regardless of what kind of pan you use -- springform, loaf, square, etc -- I advise liberal application of coconut oil and lining the bottom with parchment. Anytime you need to remove something from a pan (such as a cake or this baked vegetable and goat cheese layered thingy), I would highly recommend lining the bottom or base with parchment and liberally coating the pan with coconut oil.
Now, when you look at the directions below, it might seem like a lot of work. But if you slice and roast your veggies one day, saute your tomatoes another, and then finally mix up your cheese mixtures and assemble your layers, it really isn't a lot of work in one go. Which is important if, like me, you can rarely rely on large chunks of time. The baking itself took 2 hours, so you need to set aside enough time for that before serving the dish.
3 medium red peppers, cut in half with the guts removed
2 very large or 3 medium yellow peppers, cut in half with the seeds removed
3 chinese eggpants, sliced about 1/2 cm thick, lengthwise
4 enormous portobello mushrooms, stems removed, and stems and caps sliced about 1/2 cm thick
goat cheese and sundried tomato mixture:
300 g goat cheese
1 1/2 oz sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
2 organic eggs (large)
ricotta and spinach mixture:
1 lb of ricotta, drained in a towel while weighted down
300 g of spinach (either blanched and squeezed dry, or defrosted and squeezed dry)
2 organic eggs (large)
1 tsp sea salt
grape tomato sauce:
4 pints grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp garlic, finely minced
3/4 cup onion, finley chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp marjoram
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1. place the mushrooms, peppers, and eggplants on individual baking sheets. Brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Bake at 345 for 60 minutes, or until done and a little reduced. You don't want to have too much liquid in your layered vegetable dish. After your peppers are roasted, you will have to peel and slice them. If they are cooked enough, the peeling is very very easy.
2. To make your sauteed grape tomato sauce: saute your garlic and onions in coconut oil, then add your tomatoes and seasonings, and simmer until reduced.
3. To make your goat cheese and sundried tomato mixture: chop your sundried tomatoes in your food processor, then add your eggs and goat cheese and process until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. My sundried tomatoes were salty, so I needed no salt.
4. To make your spinach and ricotta mixture: chop your spinach in your food processor, then add your eggs and ricotta cheese and seasonings to taste, and process until smooth.
5. Assemble your layers. Mine were as follows:
a) I made an interesting pattern on the bottom layer using the portobellos. Because, once the dish is done, I will invert the whole thing onto a platter, and presto the bottom layer will be the top layer.
b) I layered 1/2 of the spinach and ricotta mixture. This would have been a little easier if the mixture wasn't quite so dry ...
c) next, a layer of eggplant
d) 1/2 of the sauteed tomato mixture
e) 1/2 the spinach and ricotta mixture
f) the red peppers
g) the goat cheese and sundried tomato mixture
h) a layer of eggplant
i) 1/2 the sauteed tomato mixture
j) the yellow peppers
I sprinkled a little balsamic vinegar and sea salt on the top layer of yellow peppers. Now, you can layer yours however pleases you. This just worked for me. And you can mix it up, use different veggies, go crazy. Whatever.
6. Store the compiled layers in the fridge until you are ready to bake it.
7. bake at 345 for 2 hours in the top half of the oven
8. allow to cool fully, then invert onto a large plate or platter
|the finished layers, ready to go into the fridge|
|arial view ...|
|sorry, too many pictures ...|
|inverted onto a plate|
|a vegetarian feast!|
|ready to cut into it ...|
|Delectable, savoury layers|