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Baked goat cheese, sundried tomato & basil appetizer

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SKILL LEVEL :
Easy

Easy festive appetizer

This is one of my all-time favorite quickie appetizers. It takes about 10 minutes of active preparation and about an hour in the oven. I learned to make this recipe about 20 years ago from a cooking instructor named Tarla who used to do in-home cooking classes in my neighborhood. This appetizer works well any time of the year, but because of its red, white and green colors, it is particularly appropriate around Christmas.

With or without roasted garlic

You can make this appetizer with or without roasted garlic, but if you have the time, I encourage you to included the garlic. Roasting garlic is simple. Just slice off about 3/4" of the pointed tip of the garlic. Put the bulb on a piece of foil with the cut side up, drizzle with a little olive oil and put the tip back on the garlic and wrap with foil. Put the foil-wrapped garlic in the oven for about an hour, until the garlic is soft, creamy and fragrant. Remove from the oven and let it cool enough to handle, then squeeze the roasted goodness from the bulb.

 

Roasted garlic is an enticing treat that can enhance a cracker, a sandwich, soup, salad dressing, pasta or just about anything you can think of. In this case, squeeze the roasted garlic over the baked goat cheese.

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How to chiffonade basil

Chiffonade is a term that describes rolling basil leaves into a cigar shape and finely slicing the basil cigar. The result is confetti-like pieces of basil. See my post for details on how to chiffonade basil.

Goat cheese

Trader Joe's and Costco are great sources for reasonably-priced goat cheese. Costco packages two logs of goat cheese together which is enough to make this recipe twice. The nice thing about goat cheese is that unopened it has a shelf life of several months. I like to keep a log of goat cheese in my fridge to pull out when I need to make an unexpected appetizer.

Au gratin dish

Gratin Pan | Something New For Dinner

An au gratin dish like this one from Le Creuset is perfect for this appetizer. At 11.8" long and 7.2" wide, it allows just enough room for the cheese to melt and spread out without getting too thin.

A little champagne

A glass of cold champagne is the perfect accompaniment to this appetizer.

 

Baked goat cheese, sundried tomato & basil appetizer

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 -10 servings

This easy and festive appetizer made with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and basil is beautiful around Christmas and New Year's, but delicious any time of the year.

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of garlic (optional)
  • 10.5 ounce log of fresh goat cheese
  • 8 ounce jar of sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 cup of basil chiffonade
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced or crackers

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the pointed tip of a garlic head off and place on a sheet of foil. Drizzle the cut garlic with olive oil, replace the tip and wrap the entire head in foil. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the cloves are soft and creamy. Set aside and let cool. Garlic can be roasted ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a week or two.
  2. Place the log of goat cheese in a small oval baking dish with no more than a couple inches of space around the log. Drizzle some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes on top of the cheese and put in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is hot and lightly browned on the top. The cheese will spread as it bakes.
  3. While the cheese is baking, remove the sun dried tomatoes from the oil and chop into 1/4" pieces. Place in a small bowl. Chiffonade the basil and add it to the sundried tomatoes with a couple pinches of red pepper flakes. Mix the three ingredients together.
  4. When the cheese is hot and slightly browned, remove it from the oven and spoon the tomato/basil mixture around the edge of the baking pan, like a wreath. Squeeze the roasted garlic over the top of the cheese. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and drizzle a little more of the sun dried tomatoes on top of the cheese.
  5. Serve warm with baguette slices and if you are feeling festive add some chilled champagne.

 

THIS SERVES WELL WITH

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2 COMMENTS

Comments

  1. Brenda Colgate says:

    Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe!! You make it look so beautiful. Merry Christmas Kim!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Thank you Brenda. Merry christmas to you too!

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