Wednesday, July 30, 2008

RECIPE: Cheese Toast

One of my favorite snacks on our Bar Menu is the Cheese Toast with Melted Tomatoes. It is great as a late night snack instead of pizza, or as a light supper. And it is great for using up any leftover cheeses after a party.

The “melted tomatoes” refers to a method of slowly cooking the tomatoes at very low temperature inside the oven with just the pilot light on until they almost turn themselves into a sauce.


We toss some ripe tomatoes in a little olive oil and chopped garlic, season them—pop them into the oven—and when we get to work in the morning the tomatoes have “melted” into a simple sauce. All they require is a light chopping and folding in some herbs [like chopped Italian parsley, or thyme, sweet marjoram] and some torn basil leaves.

Recently I had a guest request the recipe I decided to put it on the Blog in case any of the rest of you would also like to give it a try.

The cheeses in the recipe can be any leftover scraps of cheese. But realize if you blend a strong blue cheese with fontina for example—the blue flavor will predominate—which isn’t a bad thing if you like strong blues (like I do).

If you don’t want to “melt” the tomatoes you can oven-roast them or use whatever favorite tomato sauce you like in the style of a pizza sauce.

INGREDIENTS: 1 Pound Cheese, any varieties, cubed
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Pinch Salt and Pepper, to taste (only if needed)



For Toast and Melted Tomatoes:
24 Slices Pain Rustique, sliced and grilled
1 Ounce Olive Oil
8 Plum Tomatoes, roasted and chopped coarsely
8 Fresh Basil Leaves, julienned
8 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive Oil 4 Teaspoons Garlic, chopped
1 Pin Crushed Red Pepper, to taste


METHOD:

1. Gather 1 pound of cheese pieces (any variety: Gruyère, goat, brie, fontina, although too much blue cheese and it will predominate) cut off any mold or very hard rinds, and cube into 1" pieces.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the cheeses, garlic cloves, about 1/2 cup of dry white wine and a big grinding of black pepper. Process for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture is creamy but not too soft.
3. Salt is usually not needed, but taste the mixture and add some if it is.
4. Pack it into a small container that will fit the amount of cheese. It also can be frozen.
5. The fromage fort is ready to use now, either served cold or spread on bread and broiled for a few minutes. Broiling will brown the cheese and make it wonderfully fragrant.
6. Grill pain rustique with some olive oil until golden and charred a bit.

7. Spread the fromage fort onto the grilled bread and set under the broiler until cheese is golden.

8. Add some chopped oven-roasted tomatoes and olive oil in a saute pan. Heat up, until hot add the basil.
9. Garnish the hot cheese toast on a plate with some of the roasted tomato, piling it up on the cheese toast, cross with the other toast, and add some of the tomato sauce to the plate here and there.
10. Drizzle the toast and tomato with some extra-virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of chopped Italian parsley.

Adapted from a recipe by Jacques Pépin, Food & Wine Magazine
Serves approx: 8
Yield: 2 1/4 cups
Start to finish: 10 minutes [not counting the overnight melting of the tomatoes].

Serving Ideas: The cheese mixture can be served cold on crackers too. Delicious.

1 comment:

Dennis said...

Gordon:

As you know, I am one of your biggest foodie fans.

When can we expect your cook book?

Dennis.