“Tension translates to your guests. They’ll have a much better time having chili and baked potatoes than they would if you did roast duck with a wild cherry sauce and then had to lie down and cry for a while”. Nigella Lawson
Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini
Here we have two of my favorites in one tangy, sweet and savory mouthful at the same time. This balsamic poached cherry and goat cheese crostini is often the first appetizer finished and the last spoken about. It’s very easy to make, just pit your cherries, and put them to poach in the balsamic vinegar. While they are poaching, toast your crostini and slather on room temperature goat cheese. Allow the cherry mix to cool enough so it does not melt your cheese. Then top each crostini with a tablespoon of the cherry mix. Using a good cherry pitter makes this an easy bite to put together ahead of time and then serve at room temperature, just store in the fridge until ready to eat. To up the savory aspect, I added a few sprigs of thyme leaves to the balsamic vinegar for poaching the cherries. This adds a dimension to the flavor that you do not see coming. Believe me, one crostini is never enough, so be sure to make enough.
Balsamic and Thyme Poached Cherry Compote
Poaching the cherries in the balsamic vinegar and thyme creates a deliciously, rich syrupy compote that is to die for. The acidity in the balsamic vinegar is just enough to marry the thyme, vinegar and cherry flavors together so that none of these flavor profiles are dominate over the others. You end up with fruit compote that is sweet, tart and savory all at once. Please be sure to poach the cherries on a very low heat to prevent burning the vinegar, stirring occasionally to meld the flavors together.
Build Your Crostini Bites
While your cherry mix is poaching, prepare your crostini slices. Using a French loaf, slice into half inch slices. I like to make mine by broiling in the oven. I can get more done at once than using the toaster. Allowing your goat cheese to come up to room temperature makes it easier to spread. For firmer goat cheese, place it in the freezer for five minutes prior to use. This all depends on how much goat cheese you want on each crostini. I think using it as more of a spread rather than a chunk cheese is better. Of course you have your choice of cheeses too. This recipe would work equally as well with either cream cheese or mascarpone, but you will really be missing out on the tartness of the goat cheese. For me, goat cheese just adds another dimension to the bite, and it contains few calories than cream cheese. Also, some recipes call for adding a little olive oil to your crostini before toasting. You can do this, but it seemed like just adding another fat source to the crostini and I did not find it necessary. It does soften the crostini some, so if you prefer that then by all means. Without the added oil the crostini is just a little crispier, which adds another texture to the bite.
If you try this recipe, please share your thoughts about it in the comments below. I am interested to see what adaptations you make, if any, or if you keep it the same.
“The Cherry Orchard’ is a masterpiece, and there can never be too many adaptations”. Stephen Karam