I love cheese. In my dreams I am a cheesemaker, tending a small herd of goats or sheep and turning their milk into cheese that I can spread on freshly baked bread for breakfast and wrap up in parchment and twine and give to friends as gifts. That’s in my dreams. I joke with J. about getting a few goats for our postage stamp backyard. In my real life I go to a cheese shop, make a purchase and place my cheese lovingly on one of my favorite platters. When stumped for the perfect starter for a dinner party, I turn to a good cheese without a second thought. It’s easy, but is that so bad?
I ran across this recipe recently and decided it was time to make it again. I have memories of serving this years ago for a catering job. It couldn’t be easier and combines two things that go naturally together-cheese and tomatoes. This dish originally hails from the Piemonte region of Italy where tomini elettetrici (which means “electric cheese”) was frequently made with a cow’s milk cheese. I’ve chosen to make it with a mild goat cheese and served it with toasted crostini. I’m wondering why I waited so long to make this appetizer which is definitely simple to prepare and is so full of flavor.
Goat Cheese with Spicy Tomato Sauce
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra-virign olive oil
2 cups peeled, seeded and finely chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup tomate puree
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
To make the sauce, heat the red pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for a few minutes. Add the tomato, puree, vinegar and a little sugar for balance and place the heat over low heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and let cool completely. Arrange goat cheese on a plate and spoon sauce over. Serve with bread or crostini. To be honest, mine has a little more sauce than I had planned, but I knew that my guests would be scooping it up!
Recipe courtesy of Joyce Goldstein’s book Antipasti.