Monday, 30 July 2012

Queijo de cabra dorado, golden goats cheese


I borrowed this idea from the simple and delicious Italian wine bar tradition- the Enoteca.We have nothing like this in Portugal and I just love the concept of bar snacks,and more so of eating a meal made up of many small dishes accompanied by several glasses of crisp chilled wine.This is the Italian equivalent of tapas. It is a healthier way to dine, eating less but tasting more.Applying the concept at home is easy too as much of it can be prepared in advance.Gather some friends, open a bottle of wine and let the tasting begin.Queijo Fresco - is a fresh uncured Portuguese cheese similar to fresh mozzarella but with a much lighter, melt-in-your-mouth texture and is a basic staple in Portuguese meals.It is usually consumed as a side dish for lunch sliced thick and sprinkled with a little salt, pepper and/or olive oil or as an entrada for dinner.We have a particularly tasty local variety which I just adore.Its naturally made with just enough salt, and therefore its plain taste lends itself to a gentle marinade of herbs and fruity olive oil.
Baked or sautéed in a parmesan and bread crumb crust it takes on a texture and flavour sensation.The crunchy outer layer paired with the softer centre contrast beautifully with a cool salad of bitter greens.I decided on a modern take of the classic waldorf salad with apple, rocket and walnuts dressed with a slightly fruity, sweet and nutty Pedro Ximénez dressing.

Crumb- coated goat cheese  with a wild rocket Waldorf salad
10mm slice (1/2inch) slice or 1 individual Queijo fresco
(fresh mild goats cheese), about 100g(3oz)
Extra virgin olive oil for marinating
Generous pinch of chopped fresh thyme, basil,or savory or a combination
50g grated Parmesan
Fine dried toasted breadcrumbs

Place the cheese in a shallow dish and add enough olive oil just to cover.
Add the herbs and turn the cheese to get an even coating.Cover and refrigrate for a few hours or overnight.
Spread the breadcrumbs over a flat plate and mix in the grated Parmesan.Remove the cheese from the marinade and dip it in the breadcrumbs, coating it well on both sides.Place the crumb-coated cheese in a small oiled baking dish and bake in a pre-heated  400F /200C oven until bubbling and golden,6-8 minutes.
(Alternatively you can fry the cheese in butter, turning once until the crumbs are golden and the cheese is starting to soften).
Transfer the cheese,using a spatula to a plate and serve with a the salad
FOR THE SALAD
100g of wild rocket leaves
handful of mixed bitter salad leaves
1 apple,( Royal gala,Braeburn or Fuji )diced but not peeled
1 stick of celery finely chopped
handful of coarsely chopped walnuts

I dressed the salad with a Pedro Ximénez dressing
1garlic clove
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Pedro Ximénez sherry
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Flor de sal and freshly ground black pepper
Crush the garlic with a good pinch of Flor de sal in a pestle and mortar until you have a smooth paste.Add the sherry,vinegar and whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.Season with salt and pepper.

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