Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus 3 hours chilling time, plus overnight hanging
Servings: 10 to 12
Note: From chef Massimiliano Blasone of Valentino. The layers should be tomato-mozzarella-basil in order to represent the colors of the Italian flag.
1cup packed basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1. Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain well, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the basil in the blender with the salt and oil. Blend until smooth. Strain through a coffee filter and reserve.
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
20 chopped Roma tomatoes (4 1/2 pounds)
4 sheets gelatin or 1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grappa (optional)
10 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 1/2pounds fresh mozzarella
20 large basil leaves
Fleur de sel
1. Sprinkle the salt on the chopped tomatoes. Wrap the tomatoes with cheesecloth and tie with heavy kitchen string. Hang overnight over a container to collect the tomato water. Save the tomato pulp for another use. You will need 1 cup tomato water.
2. Soften the gelatin sheets in 2 cups of cold water for 5 minutes. If using gelatin powder, stir it directly into the tomato water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove sheets from cold water and stir into the 1 cup tomato water.
2. Lightly heat the tomato water to dissolve the gelatin. Add the sugar, vinegar and grappa. Simmer for a few minutes to blend flavors. Remove and cool.
3. Cut the vine-ripened tomatoes into quarters and slice them thinly lengthwise. Place the fresh mozzarella in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up slightly to aid in the slicing. Thinly slice the cheese. Pat the tomatoes and mozzarella with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
4. Line a terrine (9 1/4 by 4 by 2 3/4 inches) with plastic wrap. Spoon in just enough of the tomato gelatin to cover the bottom of the mold, about 2 tablespoons. Place a layer of sliced tomato on the bottom of the terrine, followed by another thin layer of the gelatin. Next, arrange a layer of mozzarella, followed by another thin layer of the gelatin. Place a layer of basil leaves next, slicing the leaves slightly if necessary so they lie flat. Add another layer of tomato gelatin. Continue this process to the top of the mold. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or overnight.
5. To serve, remove the plastic wrap covering the terrine and carefully invert on a plate. Cut into half-inch slices. Drizzle each slice with basil oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
Each serving: 267 calories; 12 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 21 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 45 mg. cholesterol; 576 mg. sodium.