Favorite Appetizers: Marinated Goat Cheese Spread
My favorite part of going to a festive event are the appetizers. The starter before the meal.
I love to walk into a party and take in the culinary creations and ideas that will bring friends and families together. Whether it be for the holidays, birthdays, weddings, sports party events or whatever reason to gather people together to have a good time, I always look forward to an event where I can bring my inner food diva to the table.
This holiday season I made several hors d’oeuvres that were a big hit, but one is really worth sharing with our Port City Foodie readers.
Enter my marinated goat cheese spread.
I wanted to keep this palate-pleasing appetizer light by just adding a few ingredients and letting it bathe.
- Start with three goat cheese logs, cut into round, 1-inch size pieces.
- Coat the bottom of a tall glass jar with high quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Layer with the goat cheese rounds, topping each cheese layer with fresh cut basil, dill, thyme, cracked black pepper, sea salt and a tiny sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
- Add more olive oil throughout the layering process until you have used all the goat cheese rounds.
- Cover and place the jar in the fridge. Marinate for 24- to 48 hours
The beauty of this appetizer is that you do all the work a day or two before the party! Right before serving, call upon your inner food artist to complete your chef d’oeuvre.
I started out with a fresh ciabatta bread, cut in appetizer-sized slices and lightly brushed with olive oil, and toasted it in the oven at 350° for 12- 15 minutes. When the bread is crisped, add the goat cheese spread, top with fresh sprouts and arugula, and complete with a drizzle of a beautiful balsamic glaze.
I love balsamic glaze because it is such an important finish for this exquisitely simple appetizer.
When I say “balsamic” people may think, why is she adding the vinegar? I promise this will add the distinctive flavor a rich dish like marinated goat cheese needs.
Balsamic vinegar is aged much like wine and it comes in different qualities. The juice is from pressed grapes, boiled and then stored into wooden casks of oak, chestnut, cherry, juniper and mulberry. This is the stage when the aging process begins. Quality Balsamic is aged over 12 years or more. You may ask well how do we get to the” Balsamic glaze”? This simply is a reduction, over low heat, from its vinegar state to a thick syrup. The process of reducing the Balsamic vinegar adds a little more intense aged barrel taste. I can not express how perfectly this will complete your marinated goat cheese spread hors d’oeuvre.
Shopping tip: Taste the Olive is one of our favorite shopping stops for top quality Balsamic vinegars. Tell them you are making a reduction, and they will help guide your purchase.
Often a simple appetizer also carries memories and family stories behind them. It can start from the memories of preparation and the people you were with when you made them.
We invite you to share your own culinary creativity with others, and to share your own traditional or favorite party appetizers in the comments below. Have a recipe you’d love to see on Port City Foodie? Email us a photo and your recipe, and we’re happy to share!
Contributing blogger: Sarah Koob is a foodie, home cook, and lover of seafood, Bloody Marys, and is always up for any kind of food adventure.