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Herb-Marinated Goat Cheese with Crisp Rosemary Flatbread

July 17, 2008

All the herbs in our garden have really filled out, and are ready to start using in large quantities — they’ve done even better than I’d hoped! — and I’ve been trying to use them in some different ways. Last weekend it was Pesto Central in our kitchen; I made basil pesto, mixed herb pesto, and the parsley pepita pesto from the latest issue of Gourmet.

Two thoughts:

1. If you don’t subscribe to Gourmet, you may want to pick up a copy of the July issue: it is *loaded* with great summer recipes! I started earmarking pages with recipes I wanted to try, but stopped when it became clear that I was flagging almost every page…

2. I tried a new way of freezing individual portions of pesto which worked really well. Make a big batch, transfer it to a bowl and refrigerate it for a little while so it firms up, then you can scoop it into portions on a parchment lined baking sheet (I try to do roughly 1/4 cup sized portions.) Transfer the sheet to the freezer for a few hours, until the pesto portions are frozen solid. Then, you can just store the individually frozen portions together in a large freezer bag, and take out as many portions as you need to defrost at a time — no defrosting a whole big bag just to get a single portion.

I also used some of my herb haul — basil, oregano, lemon basil, chives, parsley, and rosemary — to finely mince and use in this herb-marinated goat cheese. You take a log of goat cheese, flatten it into a disk, press the minced herbs lightly into the surface, shower it with some finely grated lemon zest, coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, then drizzle the whole thing with few generous glugs of extra-virgin olive oil. Stick it in the fridge for an hour, two hours, eight hours, whatever — the flavors will just meld and get better and better.

I made crispy rosemary flatbread (also in the July issue of Gourmet!) to spread the herby goat cheese on, using all white whole wheat flour.

It’s basically a homemade cracker, super easy to make, flecked and perfumed throughout with rosemary, and very conducive to breaking into little crunchy bits to scoop up every last bit of the goat cheese. You could play around with this recipe, using different herbs or spices, but I loved the rosemary flavor.

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Herb-Marinated Goat Cheese

View printable recipe

Ingredients
1 4-oz. log goat cheese (chevre)
2 tablespoons finely minced mixed herbs — such as basil, thyme, parsley, chives, oregano, and rosemary
zest of 1 lemon
coarse salt and pepper
good extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Using plastic wrap as an aid, mold the goat cheese into a disk about 1 inch high and 3-4 inches across. Place in a wide bowl or on a plate. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, then press the mixed herbs into the surface of the goat cheese. Shower the lemon zest over the goat cheese, then drizzle some olive oil over the entire surface and around it on the plate. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until you’re ready to serve it.

Crisp Rosemary Flatbread

Adapted from Gourmet, July 2008

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary plus 2 (6-inch) sprigs
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
Flaky sea salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with either an heavy baking sheet or a baking stone inside.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and chopped rosemary in a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the water and olive oil into the well. Use a wooden spoon to gradually incorporate the flour into the liquid, stirring until it comes together into a dough. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead it 4 or 5 times.

Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Take one piece and roll it out on a piece of parchment paper until it’s a thin round, about 10 inches in diameter. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect – you’re going for rustic here. Keep the remaining pieces of dough covered with a dishtowel.

Right before you’re ready to bake the first round, brush it with additional olive oil and sprinkle it with some of the rosemary sprigs and sea salt. Transfer the entire piece of parchment with the dough on it into the oven (onto the baking sheet or baking stone; I used a pizza peel to do this but you wouldn’t have to.) Bake for 8-10 minutes, until browned around the edges and crispy. Transfer to a rack to cool (discard the parchment), and repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough (don’t oil or salt them until just before baking.)

Break into pieces before serving.

Serves 2 (if you’re hungry) to 4.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2008 5:52 am

    Amy: Pesto Central sounds like a lovely place to be! And the goat cheese sounds incredible. Not to mention the flatbreads. I’ve been wanting to try making some sort of cracker and this recipe caught my eye too. I’ll have to give it a shot. Congrats on your herb harvest! Enjoy …

  2. July 17, 2008 7:54 am

    I’m so jealous of your herb garden! And thanks for the tip on freezing pesto. I’ll have to try that soon. Reading your post makes me want to buy Gourmet!

  3. July 17, 2008 7:55 am

    I just finished up reading the July issue of Gourmet last night – it is great to see some of the recipes in action!

  4. July 17, 2008 10:40 am

    I almost swooned when I saw how green that pesto is! So, so lovely. I love the flatbread.

    Bookmarking this one.

  5. July 17, 2008 10:50 am

    That rosemary cracker bread looks divine. I am might need to try it out. (and maybe just buy this issue of Gourmet!)

    As usual, gorgeous pictures :)

  6. July 17, 2008 1:37 pm

    I’m crazy about goat cheese and this looks soooo amazing. Lovely. I usually avoid Gourmet and BA (hate the ads) but perhaps I will take your advice and snarf a copy of the the July issue :) Thanks!

  7. July 17, 2008 2:21 pm

    That photo of just the pesto on its own is outstanding! What a beautiful colour. Wish I could take a spoon of it!

  8. carolina permalink
    July 17, 2008 6:45 pm

    oh amy, how timely! our herbs are coming in beautifully now as well and now i have the perfect dish to bring to our next party! all of those herbs would be equally lovely on focaccia or a white pizza with some of your homemade ricotta cheese…yummy!! i am going to take your advice as well on the july issue of gourmet – perhaps they should give you a cut of their sales!!

  9. July 18, 2008 7:57 am

    How beautiful. I adore goat cheese with herbs – so summery! Your crisp breads look delicious too.

  10. July 19, 2008 10:26 am

    That flatbread looks lovely, I will definitely have to try it out. And I’m so jealous of your herb haul! I’ve been trying to grow some every summer for years, and they just never quite produce enough to use. Maybe some day…

  11. July 19, 2008 1:18 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous!

    I’ve tagged you for a meme, if you’re interested!

    http://vanillabasil.blogspot.com/2008/07/feeling-little-frenchepisode-ii.html
    <3 Dana

  12. July 20, 2008 6:01 pm

    That looks wonderful! I just made a goat cheese appetizer this week. I am a huge fan of goat cheese :)

    Sharona May

  13. July 21, 2008 2:29 pm

    what a wonderful appetizer. your fresh herbs look fantastic.

  14. sam permalink
    August 9, 2008 4:13 pm

    I have a question, I just came across this site and was wondering, are the herbs in the recipe fresh or dried? I’m assuming fresh but want to make sure

  15. August 10, 2008 9:21 pm

    Sam – they are fresh.

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