HONEY AND FENNEL GOAT CHEESE TOAST WITH ROASTED GRAPES
There are just a few days left until fall officially arrives, with its rich autumnal cravings: cozy sweaters, toasty fires and all the plums, grapes and pears we can get our hands on before they all disappear. This time of the year, we are almost frantically eating fruit, stuffing our market bags with piles of stone fruit and orchard hauls, so I’m always looking for clever ways to serve them in a way that lends them lasting power, for cooler nights and days. The kind of dishes I can make with my eyes closed, but still invite friends over for without any fuss. Something easy, but earthy. Something spectacularly seeming, with a secretly low workload behind it.
Goat cheese toast delivers on all of this. Truth: I’d kind of fallen on goats cheese for a bit, until I discovered Roth’s new honey chèvre—a creamy, low-tang goat’s milk cheese with a subtle sweetness that makes even my four-year-old come back for more. To amp up the wow factor, I season it with fennel seed, black pepper and maldon, and serve it potted, like a pate might be on a cheeseboard. Then, I pop a few clusters of grapes into the oven at high heat with salt, pepper, oil and yes, more fennel seed. It’s surprising how this tiny, anise-forward seed brings out the best of fall, and doesn’t overpower the grape or the honey notes of the cheese, but instead, tempers them just a bit, keeping the combination feeling decidedly savory—and satisfying.
To serve it with aplomb, arrange and cut all your favorite fall fruits, toasted bread, crackers, prosciutto and capers for extra savory nibbles—inviting your guests to mix and match, stack and savor. Clip the grapes off into smaller bunches with small scissors or pull off individual grapes to top your toasts—there’s no formality here.
The mood and feeling of this simple first course is intoxicatingly Rembrandt—without the renaissances budget. Roth Chèvre is available at Walmart Supercenters nationwide, and you can stock up on fresh produce to go alongside at the farmer’s market or from your CSA.
HONEY AND FENNEL GOAT CHEESE WITH ROASTED GRAPES
FOR THE HONEY AND FENNEL GOAT CHEESE
2- 4-oz logs Roth Honey Chèvre
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon flaky salt, such as Maldon
freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE ROASTED GRAPES
2 to 3 bunches seedless purple, concord or black grapes
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 teaspoons fennel seed
¾ tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
2 tablespoons olive oil
pears, plums, fresh grapes, radicchio, prosciutto, capers, caper berries, crackers
Bring the honey chèvre to room temperature to soften, about 1 hour. Spoon into a small bowl or pot and use the back of a spoon to create swoops and swirls over the top. Use a mortar and pestle or the back of a heavy skillet to crush the fennel seed. Sprinkle the chevre with the cracked fennel seed, Maldon salt and pepper and set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, on the convection setting if available. Lay the grapes out, in clumps, on a baking sheet and drizzle evenly with olive oil, fennel seed, salt and pepper. Roast until the grapes burst and many of the skins turn golden brown, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the grapes. Remove and let cool slightly. Brush the bread slices on both side with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and toast in the same oven until just golden brown, flipping half way through toasting, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove and let cool.
Arrange the Honey and Fennel Chevre, grapes, toasted bread, fresh fruit, prosciutto, capers and crackers on a cutting board or cheese board and serve at room temperature.
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES
SERVES 8 to 12
**THIS POST WAS SPONSORED BY ROTH CHEESE** images belong to Sarah Copeland, and should not be pinned or posted without attribution. **