There are some things that were just made for each other… Merlot and me, chocolate and orange, tomatoes and basil and, of course, goat’s cheese and beetroot. I’m getting a bit bored of seeing the two combined in a salad though. Bored is dangerous in my kitchen, as that’s when I go into ‘what if’ mode. What if I give the cheese a nutty sesame crust and bake it in the oven until it’s soft and oozing, like a little mini ‘fondue’? What if I serve it with beetroot crisps, baby salad leaves kissed with honey vinaigrette and ciabatta melba toast? So I made it, and discovered a pretty elegant little snack.
All you need is…
1 goat’s milk camembert (Fairview makes one) or a camembert
with a touch of blue (Dalewood’s Wineland Blue is wonderful)
4 tbs sesame seeds
2 tbs flour
1 egg, beaten
small bunch of beetroot
sunflower oil for frying
ciabatta or baguette (stale is better than fresh)
handful of baby salad leaves
1 tsp each of honey, red wine vinegar and olive oil, mixed together
Pre-heat your oven to 150°C. To make the melba toast, thinly slice the ciabatta or baguette (my preference is ciabatta, I love the holey texture). Place on a baking tray and dry in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want it too dark.
To make the beetroot crisps, peel and slice raw beetroot paper-thin. Fry it in small batches in 4cm of sunflower oil. Drain on kitchen towel and set aside to cool and crisp up.
To make the baked cheese, roast the sesame seeds in a clean, dry frying pan until light golden brown. (Remove from the warm pan once done or it will continue cooking and become bitter.) Roll the cheese in the flour, then the beaten egg, then sesame seeds. Place the cheese on baking paper on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. You want the cheese to melt, not cook. (If it cooks, the rind will collapse and the cheese will leak out. Eeek.) Put everything on a big platter so everyone can help themselves. Grab a piece of melba, cover it with some leaves (kissed with just a bit of the honey-vinaigrette), smear on a generous dollop of the melted cheese and top with a beetroot crisp. The perfect bite.