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Roasted Eggplant Torta
Torta di melanzane

single recipe 6 servings, double recipe 12 servings

This beautiful dish adapted from Bryanna Grogan's recipe at vegsource uses an eggplant "crust" in place of a bread crust. Made with tofu ricotta it is vegan and gluten-free. Make a double recipe in a 10" springform pan or a single recipe in a 9"x5" loaf pan.

1 lb. eggplant, long Japanese prefered, sliced thinly and broiled
2 medium (6-8 ") zucchini, sliced and broiled
2 large roasted red peppers
1 cup fresh basil leaves
extra-virgin olive oil 1 recipe spinach ricotta filling (below)

Spinach tofu ricotta recipe
2 lb. spinach, washed, steamed. chopped and squeezed dry
OR 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 1/2 cups
tofu ricotta
extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cups rice-based vegan Parmesan substitute (soy is also available)
2 tablespoons flour or arrowroot
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. freshly-ground pepper

Make the cashew tofu ricotta ahead of time and chill. Mix the prepared spinach in a bowl with the tofu ricotta. In a small nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic. Saute just until it turns color. Add to the bowl of spinach and tofu ricotta, along with the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

To prepare the eggplant and zucchini:
Slice the eggplant lengthwise, about 1/2" thick. Salt it liberally and leave it to drain for half an hour in a colander. Slice zucchini 1/4" thick and don't salt it.

Rinse and pat the eggplant dry. Brush both the eggplant and zucchini with 1 tablespoon olive oil and grill or broil it on both sides about 3 to 4' from the heat source, or until slightly browned and soft. (This takes just a few minutes per side.)

Oil your springform pan or a 9"x5" glass or ceramic loaf pan and line it with the broiled eggplant slices, barely overlapping the slices. Keep in mind that it will be turned over to serve, so put the nicest slices in first. For the loaf pan, place the short end of the first piece in the bottom of the pan and let the wide end overhang the side. Place the wide end of the second piece in the bottom of the pan and let the short end overhang. Alternate the pieces like that all around, slightly overlapping. If you have any eggplant leftover, chop it and layer it with the zucchini.

Now make a layer of zucchini, a layer of red pepper, a layer of basil leaves, and a layer of the spinach filling. Repeat layering until it is all used up. Fold the overhanging eggplant over the top of the terrine, cover with foil and place the loaf pan inside of a shallow baking pan. Fill the shallow pan with boiling water about 1" up the side of the loaf pan.

Bake the terrine for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven to a rack, uncover, and let cool for two hours. Cover the cooled terrine with plastic wrap and weight down the top with two heavy cans that fit inside the pan. For the springform pan, palce a 9"plate or cake pan on top of the plastic wrap before adding the weight. Chill overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the cans and plastic wrap, loosen the sides, and unmold the terrine on a platter. Cut into slices with a sharp knife and serve with a cold tomato sauce.