Fish and Vegetable Terrine

© The Italian Table: Creating Festive Meals for Family and Friends, by Elizabeth Minchilli, Rizzoli, 2019. All images credited © Elizabeth Minchilli. No images or text may be reproduced in any way, published or transmitted digitally without written permission from the publisher.


  • 3 tablespoons of capers
  • 2 pounds of branzino or sea bass fillets (skin on if possible)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 small eggplants (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 4 red bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 6 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch- thick rings
  • 1/2 pound of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 organic, unsprayed lemons (if using conventional lemons, scrub them well and dry them)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350F. If using capers packed in salt, place them in a small bowl and cover with water to soak for 15 minutes before rinsing and draining.

Step 2

Place the fish fillets on an oiled baking sheet in one layer, skin side down. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, until opaque. Remove from the oven and let cool. Leave the oven on at 350F.

Step 3

Place the eggplants, peppers, zucchini, onions, and cherry tomatoes on two oiled baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and the oregano. Toss with the capers. Bake until tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Keep the oven on at 350F.

Step 4

Cover a clean baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut 1 of the lemons into very thin slices (1/8 inch). Place them on the parchment and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, until just starting to go golden Remove from the oven and let cool, then chop into a small dice.

Step 5

Line a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place the fish fillets at the bottom of the pan, skin side down, then layer a mix of the vegetables, adding some of the caramelized lemons as you go, and pressing down after each layer so that everything will adhere.

Step 6

After the loaf pan is filled, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to firm up.

Step 7

Remove from the refrigerator, uncover it, and turn the terrine onto a serving platter. Let it come to room temperature.

Step 8

In the meantime, grate the zest of the remaining lemon. Sprinkle the terrine with the zest. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the terrine. Drizzle with olive oil and serve. 

photo by Elizabeth Minchilli