Summer Fest: Tomato Terrine

It’s no big secret that I’m not great at making pretty meals. I make hearty dishes. I make delicious dishes. I make dishes with enough animal fat to fill your Vitamin B-12 needs for 20 years. But pretty dishes…not so much. They take too much time. Too much patience. Too much hand-eye coordination. Just give me a bowl of stew and I’m a happy gal. Of course. there are exceptions to every rule. And when I saw the totally lovely Tomato Terrine recipe in July’s Bon Appetit, I figured that this might be my exception. And with a few alterations, it was.

Mostly, I changed it by using beef stock. Beef and tomatoes are a one-two umami punch that delivers hearty, sweet and savory flavors all at once. I also added basil to the recipe, because basil so abundant and delicious this time of year. This is tomato season and using the summer fruits with beef stock, basil and gelatin creates a unique dish that showcases to tomatoes to a T.

12 summer tomatoes, different colors and breeds (all different types of heirloom varieties work here)
1 package unflavored gelatin
1 large bunch basil leaves, washed and dried
3 cups beef stock, kept hot but not boiling (you could use boxed stock, but I recommend that you use this recipe. Just omit the lemongrass, star anise, cilantro and chile pepper. Add in salt and pepper to taste)
1 Tbls. Sherry Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

 1)Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato

 2)Drop tomatoes into a large stockpot of boiling water.

 3)After about 20 seconds, when the tomato skin starts to peel away, remove the tomatoes…

 place them into a bowlful of ice water to cool and stop the cooking process…

 and when they are cool, peel them completely.

  The skin should come off faster and easier than a burlesque dancer’s costume.

 4)Cut each tomato in half, and cut off the stem end of each tomato.

5)”Fillet” the tomato so you cut out the inner part with the seeds.

 6)Put the outer shell of the tomato on a paper towel to drain

 7)And put the seed part in a strainer over a bowl.

 8)After all your tomato shells are laid out on the paper towel,

sprinkle them with salt to let the excess moisture drain from the tomatoes.

(You can put a paper towel on top to absorb the moisture after the salted tomatoes have sat for about 20 minutes.)

 Also, use a spoon or spatula to press out all of the tomato juices from the seeds into the bowl underneath the colander. Throw the pulp away, but keep the juice.

 9)Because now, you are going to add your gelatin to the tomato juice.

 It starts like this. But in just about 10 minutes…

 it looks like this. Some awesome, gelatinous creature from the scientific kitchens of doom.
I hadn’t used gelatin before, okay? It was quite thrilling to me.

10) Now you take your boiling stock(Taste it for salt and pepper at this point, and add seasonings as necessary)

 And add the gelatinous mixture to it!

 11)Add the sherry vinegar.

 12)Now line a greased loaf pan…

with enough cling wrap to go over the sides of the loaf pan so they can later fold up and create a cover for the middle

 and pour in 1/2 cup of the stock.

 13)In 40 minutes, after the layer has set in the fridge, you can layer it with tomatoes

 and basil.

14)Top with about 2 Tbls. of stock

 15)Repeat the layering steps –

 stock, tomato, basil –

 until all the ingredients or all the room in the pan are used.

 16)Now, wrap your cling wrap over the top of the pan,

 place a small book or plate inside the loaf pan (protect the book with a plastic baggie)

and weigh it down with a few cans. I put the loaf pan in a large ice water-filled Tupperware so the filling from the loaf pan wouldn’t overflow onto the fridge. It’s your call if you want to take that step or not, but with my luck involving things spilling in the fridge…it was SO not an option.
17)Pop it in the fridge for 6 hours, or until it is set.

 18)When the terrine is firm,

 unfold it,

 invert it

 and unwrap it.

 Your first slice might not be perfect, but keep going with this…it’s going to be delish!

 And just LOOK at how stunning it is!

After you figure out how to cut it (With a non-serrated, very sharp knife, firmly), you are going to be treated to the most sensational thing to happen to tomatoes since mozzarella cheese. The gelatin, with all of it’s rich, beefy , saltiness, brings out the sweet and bright flavors of the tomatoes. The basil, herbaceous and fresh, contrasts deeply with the long cooked flavor of the stock and the totally umami taste of those tomatoes. Shockingly, the tomatoes do not take a backseat to the beef stock – rather, the beef stock supports the tomatoes, making them the star of the dish. This would be outstanding with a shot glass of vodka as a take on a Bloody Mary starter. It is outstanding on its own
And it is my own personal contribution to the world of attractive cooking.
Check out what other bloggers around the world have made with tomatoes for this challenge:
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Seared Chicken with Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce
Haute Apple Pie: Heirloom Tomato & Three Cheese Tart
What’s Gaby Cooking: Zebra Tomato and Burrata Crostini
Zaika Zabardast: Balsamic Roasted Tomato-Basil Ice
And Love It Too: Healthy Lunchbox – Garlic Tomato Basil Pesto Bruchetta 
Chez Us: Roasted Tomato Sauce
Daily*Dishin: Refreshing and Rustic – Tuscan Bread Salad
Glory Foods: Fresh Tomato Salsa
Dishin and Dishes: Tomato Tart Tatin
The Purple Cook: Eggplant Parmesan Caprese Salad
I Am Mommy: Tomato Crudite
Cooking With My Kid: Gluten-Free White Bean Chive Cakes with Heirloom Tomatoes
FN Dish: Easy Tomato Appetizers
Add a Pinch: Simple Caprese Salad Skewers
Sweet Life Bake: Salsa Cruda
Virtually Homemade: Farfalle with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Bacon and Shaved Romano
Dixie Chik Cooks: Tomato, Basil and Olive Bruschetta
The Sensitive Epicure: Yemista – Greek Stuffed Tomatoes & Peppers with Potatoes
Mooshu Jenne: Sun Burst Tomato Pasta
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Book Club, Tomatoes and a Recipe for Chicken Provençal?
Cooking With Elise: Tomato Parmesan Biscuits
From My Corner of Saratoga: Cooking from the Garden – Bruschetta Pizza
Fritos and Foie Gras: Tomato Terrine
Creative Culinary: Fresh and Savory Tomato Pie
Big Apple Nosh: Caprese Salad/Tomato Carnage
Spices and Aroma: Quick and Easy Paneer Curry


  1. This does look really pretty! I might try it out myself. Terrines have always kind of freaked me out though.

  2. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @The BB – They look scary, but they aren't hard. They just take awhile! And yes, they are so pretty!!

  3. The BB loves scary and not hard!


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