At Gaia, Frederic serves this as an appetizer with slices of roasted red and yellow peppers, his flavorful tapenade and marinated artichokes. But the herbed cheese makes a delicious spread on its own to serve with wine before dinner or for elegant snacking. If you don’t have a large lidded jar on hand, serve it in a deep glass bowl.
- 3½ cups olive oil, or enough to cover the goat cheese slices in the jar
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and split
- 11-ounce log fresh goat cheese, cut into 7 slices
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- Small bunch marjoram, chopped
- 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
- 2 wide pieces of lemon peel
- Rustic country bread, sliced
- For the tapenade:
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 pieces anchovy
- 2 ounces capers, drained
- ½ cup pitted California black olives
- ¾ cup pitted Niçoise olives
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Heat the olive oil and garlic cloves until warm, but not smoking, in a saucepan over medium heat.
Arrange the goat cheese rounds, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, herbs and lemon peel in a lidded or Mason-style jar large enough to accommodate the ingredients. Carefully pour as much of the warmed oil with garlic over the goat cheese mixture to cover the ingredients. Place the top on the jar (use plastic wrap if using a glass bowl), allowing the ingredients to “steep” and marinate.
In a small pan, sauté the garlic cloves in the 2 tablespoons olive oil until golden brown. In a food processor add the garlic and the oil from the pan, anchovies, capers and the California black olives. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the Nicoise olives and the extra virgin olive oil with a spatula.
When the goat cheese mixture has cooled to room temperature, serve with slices of your favorite country bread. Garnish platter, if desired, with tapenade, roasted peppers and marinated artichokes.