Herb-Marinated Goat Cheese with Crisp Rosemary Flatbread
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.
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.
Herb-Marinated Goat Cheese
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
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
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
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.