Blooms on apple trees are like ripening avocados – notreadyyetnotreadyyetnotreadyyet – BLOOM! One day they explode from their buds, and then the next day the wind picks up or the rain washes all those little white petals away. All over the deck you just finished staining – with sticky, oily $50-a-pail stuff that says right on the label “do not paint if weather is threatening”.
But we did anyway, and then we invited some friends over for Prosecco and bourbon lemonade and summery nibbles on said patio, namely this goat cheese with warm garlicky-pepper-herb olive oil that takes approximately one minute to make. And isn’t it pretty? My friend Gwendolyn makes this with her family every Christmas Eve – to her it tastes like Christmas, but to me it tastes like awesome – and perfect for summer when pots of fresh rosemary and thyme are sitting on my windowsill. I like to put a few sprigs in a little jar with some peppercorns and a couple of garlic cloves and let it wait.. then when you’re opening the wine, pop it in the microwave to warm for 30 seconds and pour it over a log of goat cheese. That’s it. And though it’s simple, it tastes so much better than the sum of its parts.
Those dates? Whole Medjools sauteed in olive oil with sea salt – an idea that came in the first chapter of Molly‘s new book, Delancey. I added a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and they’re divine – warm and soft and somewhat crunchy on the outside from the oil and the heat of the pan. Sweet and savoury and perfect with cheese.
Once made, this becomes one of those back pocket recipes you make all the time – at least I have – the sort that you don’t need to refer back to the original to make. The very best kind.
Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil
Adapted from Gourmet, via Gwendolyn Richards
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed or thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
leaves of 2-3 sprigs of thyme
8-10 whole black or pink peppercorns
¼ tsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed (optional)
1 250g log soft goat cheese
crusty bread or baguette slices
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil with the garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper and coriander; place the goat cheese in a shallow dish and pour the warm oil overtop. (Alternatively, combine the oil and herbs in a jar; keep in the fridge until you’re ready for it, then remove the lid, microwave the jar for 30 seconds, until the oil is hot, then pour over the goat cheese.)
Serve immediately with crusty bread or crackers. Serves 8.