Who doesn’t love cheese? Cheese is the first thing to get gobbled up on any smorgasbord! Yet, serving cheese as an appetizer at a dinner party can seem a little…”everyday”. Nothing wrong with that if your dinner party is the everyday variety. If you have a slightly more special event, though, you might want to dress your cheese for the occasion. It doesn’t take much more than a drizzle of flavoured oil, some caramelized onions and herbs to make that simple cheese look as good as you will for having made it.

caramelized garlic, sun-dried tomato goat cheese with fried basil

Caramelized garlic & sun-dried tomato goat cheese, with fried basil

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Handful whole fresh basil leaves, washed and well dried
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5 sun-dried tomatoes (dry preferred, or in oil and drained), chopped
Kosher salt
300 g room-temperature goat cheese (such as Bucherondin de Chèvre)

Heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Carefully add the basil leaves and fry until crisp but not too dark. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Turn off the heat and allow the oil to cool for 2 minutes.

Add the garlic to the same oil and let it fry in the residual heat until the sizzling starts to quiet down and then turn the heat back on to medium-low. When the garlic starts to turn in colour add the sun-dried tomatoes, a generous pinch of salt, and sautΓ© for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes soften. Remove from heat and transfer to a small glass jar or container. When you’re ready to serve, break the cheese in half or in large pieces and pour the oil over top. Spoon over the tomatoes and garlic, and crumble the basil leaves on top. Serve with crackers or a baguette.

Make-ahead: The basil and oil can be made earlier in the day. Store the basil leaves uncovered at room temperature. Refrigerate the cheese whole but be sure to bring it to room-temperature 30-40 minutes before serving.

This story and recipe appear in APPETIZERS, Issue 007 of Le Sauce Magazine.