If you love cheese or Spanish food, you are going to flip out for this appetizer!
This week for The Food Matters Project, Jessica from Cheese Please chose Cheese-Nut Balls (page 56). I have to admit I didn’t even read the original recipe but had marked on my calendar to do something with cheese and nuts based on the title.
Fast forward to a dinner party invite for the weekend – I knew the hosts were going to be serving a beautiful Paella and immediately thought to bring an appetizer. A dish featuring a wonderful Spanish Goat Cheese called Caña de Cabra (great article about it here) enhanced slightly with some of the flavors of Spain.
Something simple yet elegant that would sure to not only impress but would be delicious and pair well with our meal.
I know what you are thinking, “That looks like a lot of work” and “What if I can’t find Caña de Cabra?”
Well, it doesn’t get easier. You buy the cheese, let it sit out for 15 to 20 minutes to soften, blend up a paste in the food processor and pat it on along with some Smoked Paprika. Yep, that is it. We are talking maybe five minutes of cooking action.
As for the Caña de Cabra – I hope you can find it at your local cheese shop or specialty market. It is amazing. If not, ask your Cheesemonger if they have a recommendation for a substitute or I guess you could order a wheel online?
I wanted medallions on the smaller side so that a nice serving of the topping would be sure to be delivered in every bite but if you can only find larger pieces, go for it!
- Allow the cheese to sit out for 15 to 20 minutes so it softens a bit and will adhere to the topping easily.
- Combine almonds, parsley leaves, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse until coarsely but evenly chopped. Transfer mixture to a flat plate. Grab goat cheese medallion and gently pat some of the almond mixture onto the top and bottom of the cheese. You want a thin, but even layer on each cheese medallion.
- Use your finger to spread some smoked paprika over the rind until it is lightly coated. Note that the beautiful red color of the smoked paprika becomes a bit more vibrant as it sits on the rind so don’t go overboard.
- Continue with remaining cheese, refrigerate and allow to set for at least 2 to 3 hours before serving. Remove from refrigerator at least 20 minutes before serving – excellent with thin, small pieces of a crusty baguette.
To see what the rest of the The Food Matters Project Members cooked up this week, click here.