Unlike cow’s milk, which much of the commercialized world is accustomed to for its milder taste, goat milk and cheese products have more of a musty and acidic flavor. I’m talking about the French-imported, preferably unpasteurized chèvre.
Anyone else obsessed with Bucheron?
With goat cheese, the flavor can be very intense. Tasting it, you can just imagine some dairy farmer drawing milk from the goat’s teat that transformed into the cheese you’re eating at that moment.
It’s the same thing I’ve noticed with people who prefer dark meat and lamb meat – it tastes gamey and a bit funky. That’s why I like it.
For those on the fence about goat cheese, I discovered Ina Garten’s Salad with Warm Goat Cheese. I’ve been cooking that recipe for years now for any picky eaters who claim to hate the stuff.
No matter the vehicle it’s served on, you can’t go wrong with a slathering of whipped, soft cheese infused with flavored oils, spices, herbs and whatever else feels right. Ina Garten published a Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta recipe that is out-of-this-world. I fully disclose I drew inspiration from her with this recipe here.
The lighter texture achieved by the whirring in a food processor makes it more spreadable, and gives it a lighter consistency more appropriate as an hors d’oeuvre for outdoor eating in the summer.
Just like vegetables and fruits can be in-season, herbs can be categorized the same way, to some extent.
The heartier herbs, which you can probably already guess, like rosemary, thyme and sage tend to thrive in cooler and drier climates and temperatures. Herbs like basil, tarragon, chives and the those with more delicate leaves are typically unable to survive once temperatures plummet.
Basil is a universal go-to summer herb. Tarragon and chives and dill taste like summer to me, too, because I plant them every late spring.
Let me know if you have a different recipe for a cheese-topped crostini on-hand. I’d love to hear about it.
I N G R E D I E N T S
Serves 4 to 6 as an hors d’oeuvre.
F o r t h e C r o s t i n i
- 1 crusty French baguette, sliced thinly on the diagonal
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- Olive oil, for toasting
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
F o r t h e W h i p p e d G o a t C h e e s e
- 12 oz. high-quality goat cheese*
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tarragon, chopped
- 1 lemon, zested & juiced
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
*Montrachet is a great French-imported brand to use, and can be found in most grocery stores. But if you can find a more uncommon variety of soft goat cheese at a specialty food store, it will be that much yummier. Humboldt Fog, Bucheron, Bonne Buche from Vermont Creamery (with rinds removed) would all be great as well. Appreciative of Serious Eats for their listing of goat cheese varieties beyond chèvre.
D I R E C T I O N S
- Preheat your oven to *425.
- Cut the baguette on the diagonal, about 1 / 4 to 1 / 2 inch thin.
- Rub each piece with the garlic clove, and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle the baguette slices with salt and pepper.
- Toast the crostini for 7 to 8 minutes in the oven.
- In the meantime, place the goat cheese, herbs, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, half the lemon zest and salt and pepper in a food processor. While pulsing, pour in the olive oil.
- Pulse continuously for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture is combined and has emulsified & has thickened.
- If serving family style from a bowl, top with additional minced herbs of your choice, lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil. To make it easier for folks to grab-and-eat, smother each crostini with 2 tablespoons of the spread and place on a large platter, sprinkling with lemon zest and minced garnishing herbs of your choosing. This tastes best served room temperature.