Many years ago, on a trip to France, I developed a mild obsession with verrines, after I sampled them in a local restaurant. Come to think about it, the entire trip is just a distant memory, except for the verrines part. “Beautiful”, “vertical”, “architectural”, “layered”, “textural”, “intriguingly composed” – I’ve seen about gazillion adjectives used to convey the true idea of a verrine to a layperson. And yes, they are all of that, but most of all, they are HANDY! The verrines are a party dish of all times. The smoky heirloom tomatoe verrine salad is one of my summer party favorites. —QueenSashy
medium heirloom tomatoes (preferably of different colors, red, yellow and green)
of medium sized zucchini or yellow summer squash
of medium sized cucumber
good quality extra virgin olive oil
garlic clove, minced
chipotle powder (or according to taste)
kefir or buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons
long slices of thick bacon, halved crosswise
A pinch of cayenne (or smoked paprika if you do not like too much heat)
Make the bacon crisp: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the sheet in a single layer and sprinkle them with the brown sugar and cayenne. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the bacon is caramelized and very crispy. Let the bacon cool completely.
Peel the cucumber, and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the cucumber into 1/4-inch dice and put in a colander. Generously sprinkle with salt and let sit in the sink for 30 minutes to drain. This will prevent verrines from getting watery. Quickly rinse and blot dry with paper towel. Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the core and the seeds, and drain the liquid. Blot dry with paper towel and cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch dice. Cut the zucchini into 1/4-inch dice.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, corn, garlic, chipotle powder, olive oil and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the salad into four wine glasses.
In a small bowl, mix the mascarpone with the chives, parsley and mint. If needed, add the buttermilk to thin the mascarpone a bit (but be careful, you do not want it to be liquid, it should be able to hold its shape on top of the salad.)
Spoon the mascarpone cream into each glass over the salad. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
Before serving, remove the verrines from the refrigerator, top each verrine with a bacon crisp and serve.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.