Do you have a dish that you’re known for? Among my group of friends, this is mine. I’ve been making it since sometime last year, but it has never made an appearance on the blog. Why? Every time I make it, I promise myself I’ll get a picture. It never fails, though, that something gets in the way – I’m rushing upstairs because I’ve decided to change clothes…again, forgot to put on my jewelry, we don’t want to be late, etc. Sometimes I even convince myself that I’ll get a picture whenever we get to where we’re going, but it gets devoured before I ever have the chance. This is my go-to appetizer for almost every party I host or attend, and even my friends that don’t read my blog ask if this recipe is on here. My friend Elise especially loves this and does read my blog, so I know she will be very happy to (finally) see it posted.
This terrine looks elegant but is really quite simple to make. You line a small bowl with plastic wrap and then layer softened goat cheese with the pesto, tomatoes and pine nuts. That’s it. The result is gorgeous layers that hint at what’s inside. The ingredients all intertwine to create fantastic flavor – tanginess from the goat cheese, sweetness from the tomatoes and freshness from the pesto. Perhaps my favorite part of this is that it’s got far more texture than standard dips. The soft goat cheese is well complemented by the chewy tomatoes and crunchy pine nuts. You can use homemade pesto, but I’ve been known to pick up a jar from Trader Joe’s when I need a very last-minute dish. (Though with our basil plant growing like crazy, we’ll probably have tons of pesto stored up by summer’s end.) Serve this with crackers, baguette slices or pita chips, and be prepared to get repeated requests for the recipe.
- YIELD: about 1½ cups
10-11 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
¼-½ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons basil pesto
¼ cup drained and finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Toasted baguette, for serving
Line the inside of a 2-cup bowl with plastic wrap, letting the ends extend over the sides a few inches. I’ve found lightly misting the bowl with cooking spray helps hold the plastic wrap in place. In a medium bowl, mash the goat cheese and ¼ cup of cream together with a fork, adding more cream as needed to soften the cheese. Season with about ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper.
Spoon about a third of the cheese into the bottom of the lined bowl and spread into an even layer. Spread the pesto almost to the edge of the first layer of cheese. Top with another third of the cheese and spread to the edge. You can use a spatula, but I’ve found that pressing the goat cheese with my (clean, of course) fingers prevents the pesto from spreading too much. Sprinkle on the tomatoes and all but ½ tablespoon of the pine nuts. Top with remaining cheese and again spread to the edge. Fold the plastic over and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Unwrap the plastic from the top of the bowl, then invert the terrine onto a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pine nuts. Season with additional freshly ground pepper if desired.