Monday, August 13, 2012

Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Peppers

Goat cheese speckled with fresh thyme is a gorgeous creamy counterpoint to the sweet tangy roasted peppers in this easy recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine. An impressive starter to any summer meal, the Marinated Roasted Peppers can be prepared ahead of time, and refrigerated until they're ready to use. The crostini are then grilled and assembled just before lunch, making this a simple and delicious recipe, ideal for the dog days of August. 

Goat Cheese Crostini with a Tangle of Marinated Roasted Peppers
Serves 8 as an appetizer

3 medium bell peppers (1 red, 1 orange, and 1 yellow)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 6oz log goat cheese, at room temperature

Grilled Garlic Crostini:
1 loaf crusty, artisan-style baguette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
Sea salt or kosher salt

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high. Grill the bell peppers, turning occasionally, until the skin chars all over, about 15 to 20 minutes. Put the charred peppers in a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and let sit until cool enough to handle, about half an hour.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoons of the thyme, salt, and about 5 grinds of pepper. Mix well.

Remove the pepper skins and seeds and cut the peppers into thin strips. Add the peppers to the vinegar mixture and let them marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Refrigerate if making more than a few hours ahead and return to room temperature before assembling the crostini.

For the crostini, slice a baguette into 1/2-inch thick slices cut on a diagonal. 
Preheat the outdoor grill to medium-low, and brush both sides of the bread with the oil and grill, covered, turning once, until golden and marked on both sides, about 1 to 3 minutes per side. Off the heat but while the bread is still hot, lightly rub one side of each bread slice with the cut sides of the garlic. The heat and friction from the bread will cause the garlic to “melt” into the bread.

Sprinkle with salt and spread each slice of the grilled garlic bread with a generous layer of goat cheese, sprinkle with some of the remaining thyme, and top with a tangle of the peppers and a small grind of black pepper. Serve immediately.