Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Plan ahead to dazzle your guests with the jewelled layers of this special treat. The techniques used in this recipe are basic, but the result is stunning. The leeks provide a frame for the lines of colour. Substitute seasonal vegetables as you like:
2 or 3 medium leeks, green and white parts 2 teaspoons salt, divided 1 pound young green beans or asparagus, trimmed 2 medium zucchini 2 medium yellow squash ½ cup seasoned oil, approximately ½ pound shiitake mushrooms Salt and pepper ¼ cup chopped garlic chives or green onions ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon 1 cup roasted red peppers Tomato-Tarragon Dressing or Roasted Red Pepper Coulis Tarragon leaves or garlic chives for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°. Trim any browned or dried leaves from the leeks. Cut the leeks into halves lengthwise, leaving the roots attached. Wash the leeks well under running water, being careful to remove any sand between the leaves. Carefully put the leeks into a Dutch oven or a soup pot, curling the leeks around the edges. Add enough cold water to the pot to cover the leeks by 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the leeks until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain the leeks and cool under gently running cold water. When the leeks are cool enough to handle, remove the root end and separate the leaves. Reserve. In the same pot, bring two quarts of water with 1 teaspoon of salt to boil. Add the green beans or asparagus to the water and blanch them for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs, remove the beans or asparagus from the pot and cool under gently running cold water. Reserve. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise into ¾-inch strips. Brush the squash strips with seasoned oil. Lightly salt and pepper the squash as desired. Place in a single layer on either a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, a nonstick baking sheet, or a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Roast the vegetables for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the vegetables and roast for 5 minutes longer or just until tender. While the squash are roasting, remove the stems from the shiitakes. Brush any dirt from the mushrooms, but do not rinse the mushrooms with water. In a medium bowl, toss the mushroom caps with ¼ cup of seasoned oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place the mushroom caps, gill side up and in a single layer, on either a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, a nonstick baking sheet, or a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Roast the mushrooms for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are tender. Drain in a colander placed over a bowl. (Save any liquid in the bowl for making stock, if you wish.) Reduce the oven temperature to 325°. Oil a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Line with parchment paper or waxed paper. Using the longest leek leaves, lay them widthwise in the loaf pan, making sure to line the bottom of the pan evenly and leaving a 2-to-3-inch overhang on each side. You should have a single layer of leek leaves covering the width of the pan. Beginning in the middle of the pan, lay leek leaves lengthwise to cover the ends of the pan, leaving a 2-to-3-inch overhang. Repeat until you have two layers of leeks completely covering the ends. If you have extra, add another layer of leeks to the width of the pan. Combine the garlic chives and tarragon in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture over the leeks. Layer half of the shiitakes in the bottom of the loaf pan. Top with half the zucchini, then half the yellow squash, then half the red peppers. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture over the red peppers. Layer on all of the green beans or asparagus. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture. Layer the remaining vegetables: peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, and shiitakes. Sprinkle the shiitakes with the remaining tablespoon of herb mixture. Fold the overhanging leeks over the terrine to cover. Cover the terrine with parchment paper or waxed paper, then with aluminum foil. Place the loaf pan in a larger roasting pan. Place the pans in the oven and pour enough hot water into the bottom pan to come 1 to 2 inches up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, covered. When the terrine is cool, keeping the covers on, place another loaf pan on top of it. Stack jam jars, cans, potatoes, or bricks in the top loaf pan to weight it. Place the terrine in a small baking dish to catch any liquid. Refrigerate, covered, for 12 hours or more. Liquid will accumulate on the top of the terrine. To prevent a mess in your refrigerator, keep the terrine in a baking dish to catch any overflow. Drain any liquid from the terrine as it accumulates. Remove the foil and waxed paper. Invert the terrine onto a cutting board or flat platter to unmold it. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the terrine into 8 slices. To serve, place 2 tablespoons of Tomato-Tarragon Vinaigrette or Roasted Red Pepper Coulis on each plate. Place the terrine in the center of the plate and garnish with whole tarragon leaves or garlic chives. Makes 8 servings.