I have arrived to France and settled into the new house. Yes house. On the countryside. From the huge living room windows I can see cows grassing on the other side of the street, and behind them, a little further away, the Montblanc, Europes’ highest mountain. Behind the house the Jura mountains reach into the sky, reminding me of living in Santiago de Chile, with the Andes so close. I’ve brought a bike to do long cycling excursions and already bought a second one here (a cheap second hand bike, because the other is too catchy to leave outside). Today I’ve made it to a health food store to buy some provisions and could even bring them home safely in a fruit box that I managed to attach to the rack of my new old bike …not a very stable construction honestly. But this post will be about a recipe still prepared in Barcelona.
I admit this dish needs some preparation time, although it’s really all about the sauces. If you want a quicker version, you could use store-bought green and/or red pesto and tapenade, that would also make a great combination. I already had the cashew cheese (which I made following this recipe, although mine came out like a cream cheese, not as firm as it seems on the pictures) and the pesto, so that made it a lot easier. The good thing about this recipe is that you don’t have any cooking time! Once the ingredients are prepared, you can put the beauty together in a couple of minutes and… ready to serve! And if you’re talking animatedly, forgetting about eating in between… no worries, the food is already cold! …Its freshness makes it an ideal summer recipe. The different sauces give it a lot of flavor and make it filling enough as a meal. You can serve it in individual portions as I did this time, shaped with a pastry ring, but you could also have a more rustic version, building the small tower without any shaping help, or make it in a terrine and then cut the individual pieces. It’s also a very flexible recipe as you could incorporate different vegetables (radishes, spinach leaves and sprouts for example) and use different sauces (tapenade, guacamole, tahini…), and you can also easily adjust the quantities by making more or less layers.
• 1 beetroot
• 4 portobello mushrooms
• 1/2 cup cashew cheese
• 1/2 cup pesto
• 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
• 1 handful fresh basil leaves
• sea salt & pepper to taste
For the tomato sauce:
• 3/4 cup dried tomatoes
• 1 tomato
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon oregano
For the walnut pâté:
• 1/2 cup walnuts, soaked for 2-4h or overnight
• 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
• 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
• a few rosemary leaves (optional)
Start by soaking the dried tomatoes in warm water for at least 10 min (in case you don’t use marinated ones). Meanwhile, slice the zucchini and the beetroot thinly (a mandolin slicer or the slicing disc of the food processor come in handy). Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt over the zucchini (to extract their liquid) and set aside. Slice the Portobello mushrooms and marinate the slices in 2 tablespoons of the tamari, stirring every once in a while to get them soaked evenly.
For the tomato sauce, drain the soaked dried tomatoes completely and blend them together with the fresh tomato, the oregano and the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the walnut pâté, blend the soaked walnuts with the nutritional yeast, the tamari and rosemary (if using). A sticky ball should form.
You’re now ready to put the whole thing together. First drain the zucchinis (there should be excess liquid now). Feel free to vary the layers as you please. I actually made different ones, and thought the one with the beetroot and pesto on top looked prettier, but flavorwise it’s the same thing. I started both with a zucchini layer, arranging the slices in a circle, with some overlap so to cover all the wholes. The zucchini layer is also the most repeated one (3 times). I always topped one vegetable layer (zucchini, beetroot or mushrooms) with a sauce layer. Press the walnut pâté into shape with your hands, depending on the size of your milhojas, you can form a flat circle covering the whole layer or several smaller flat pieces and form them into the layer. You could top the whole thing with sprouts and seeds, if you have some at hand.