Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Terrines I Have Known

I've actually had a request to post one of my pictures! Given that I am the world's worst photographer, this is a first.

I know that the requester is a bit of a terrine fan, so it struck me that this might be a nice time to do a compilation post. I ate a lot of terrine at the beginning of this year but ended up never posting about most of it.

So I give you Terrines I Have Known.

Terrines have been around since Roman times. Originally a mix of a scraggly leftover bits of pork and fat, they stemmed out of a need to make the most of the meat you had. A terrine, with it's wrapping of fat, bacon or later pastry, is a great way to preserve your food for a bit longer and make a little meat go a long way. As cuisine evolved the terrine became a good way for chefs to show off their creative chops and use more luxe ingredients. No British gastro-pub menu is complete without a terrine and it can be a good yardstick to see what the chef's capable of. I tend to order terrine when I'm looking for something big, ballsy and meaty to kick start a meal, although one always hopes that the actual testicle content is minimal.

Let's start with a fairly standard example from The Fox in London. You can see the bacon wrapping, the different chunky meats and a reasonably high fat content. This is what I would call a standard terrine; the chef knows what one is and has has a passable go at making one. It was enjoyable, if a bit fridge cold. It was served with some gherkins and bread, both quite standard . The gherkins (I think) add some acidity as terrine can be quite fatty . I don't need to tell you what to do with the bread.

Next up we have a glossier terrine from Simply Simpsons in Kenilworth. They used to have a Michelin star. This terrine struck me as being a bit pornographic at the time. It was very meaty, rather moist and set with jelly.

You can see a lot more technique here, with the distinctive bits of ham, the foie gras and the carrots. I enjoyed this much more than the previous terrine.

And finally we have the modernist, deconstructed Terrine of rabbit with foie gras and pistachio mousse from Vue de monde in Melbourne. Even the terrine virgins among you will come to realise that the presentation here is a little different to your average terrine.

This is a very haute terrine, despite the slip of the claggy butter. It's served with some fresh pistachios and a pistachio mousse which is a nice nod to the more rustic terrine style which often has pistachios for textural contrast. Chef Doherty has deconstructed the dish well; the bacon which is usually used to wrap the finished terrine is represented as a ham slush (third row down) and there are layers of rabbit rilettes and foie gras. The confit carrot and the pistachio mousse frame the meats.

A vegetarian friend pinged me as I was writing this and said that they'd never had a good vegetarian terrine. I'm annoyed with myself as I had a great Tuscan terrine with layers of pesto and tomato and wrapped in provolone cheese rather than ham on the weekend, but I forgot to take a photo. I'll try and get the recipe and report back.

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Blogger Sidu said...

I've never heard of a terrine before, let alone seen or tasted one, but now I want to. :-)

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Murbee said...

thanks misses. You've made a fat boy happy.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Suzi Edwards said...

Sidu, if I ever come back to Bangalore I'll make you a terrine!

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering my size, it was murder to read all your lovely comments about food in general. I shall however, continue to read your site. Best wishes. Colleen

4:37 AM  

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