Thursday, May 16, 2013

Baked Goat Cheese “Caprese” – Hot and Not

No salad will break your heart like the “Caprese.” It always sounds great; creamy mozzarella, fragrant basil, and sweet, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes…what’s not to love? Well, false advertising for one. With very few exceptions, the tomatoes used on these Caprese salads are not sweet, juicy, ripe tomatoes; they’re the opposite.

They’re almost always your standard, conventionally produced, picked green and left to redden (not ripen) in the case, tomatoes. They’re mealy, flavorless, and completely undeserving of being paired with ingredients as perfect as mozzarella and basil.

While I’m invariably disappointed by the execution of this classic salad, I do love the combination of flavors, and by using cherry tomatoes, I thought it would translate perfectly for a baked goat cheese appetizer. Did it ever. When you take into consideration the taste, appearance, and ease of preparation, there’s a real chance this could become your new favorite summer appetizer.

By the way, as long as you are using high quality, oven safe ramekins, you can also do these on the backyard grill. Place a piece of foil on the grates, set down your ramekins, close the cover, and cook until the juices are bubbling, and the cheese is heated through.

I hope you give this delicious, and so not disappointing “Caprese” a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
8 oz log fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 equal pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp basil chiffonade
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne, to taste
*bake at 400 degrees F. for about 15 minutes

View the complete recipe