Picnic dining is my specialty. For me, a picnic meal is an excuse to wander through a lovely food shop and gather pâté, salami, cheese, pickles, chutney, olives, grapes, crusty bread and if a nice deli is available, perhaps some roasted veggies and chicken salad. (Central Market almond apricot chicken salad if you’re really lucky.) And of course picnic dining is my thing because I’m more of an eater than a cook.
But we reckoned some cooking was required for the Irish Foodies Picnics & Parties Cookalong. It’s not called a Shopalong after all. We started thinking about a nice terrine like the chicken and lemon terrine from On the Pig’s Back, but as Bill explored recipes he was attracted to an Eggplant/Auburgine Terrine from Saveur. The picnic was also the perfect opportunity to make the deviled eggs from Orangette I’ve been dreaming about, and I’d also get to use my egg plate!
The terrine is a bit involved and took a couple hours to roast the eggplant, make the custard layer, and assemble the terrine. Bill noticed the terrine recipe didn’t say to puree the red pepper, but it wouldn’t have matched the photo otherwise. He used a loaf pan as we don’t have a terrine pan. Bill made the terrine Thursday night, and we ate it for lunch Saturday along with some dressed greens, Parmesan cheese, olives and fantastic deviled eggs. The terrine is a perfect summer lunch; it makes plenty for several people. We were wondering if the custard layer is absolutely necessary, but it may help adhere the goat cheese, and it is an additional texture layer. Bill used St. Tola’s cheese which was delicious. Also, Bill was reminded that slicing and roasting eggplant is a very easy step, and it tastes great on its own, so we’re going to keep that in mind this summer as markets are bursting with the purple beauties.
Now back to the deviled eggs! My egg plate is one of the few things I smuggled under my skirts on the boat ride to Ireland (okay, it was a suitcase and an airplane). No Southern girl should be without one. Molly of Orangette cuts her eggs crosswise and removes a small slice on the bottom so they stand upright, which is a cute and clever approach, if you don’t have an egg plate! Bill is annoyed at the food processor that came with our apartment (moving soon hopefully to larger kitchen where a new food processor will join the family), so he made the short-cut aioli with a mortar and pestle. I loved the topping of aioli and fried capers on these eggs. Using the aioli instead of mixing basil and garlic in with the yolks highlights the different flavors, and the capers are a great salty crunch against the rich mayonnaise. I was really happy with how these turned out and just have to ignore the fact that I’ll probably eat five whole eggs by the time this day is through.