Easy Appetizer Recipe: Goat Cheese Marinated with Olive Oil and Citrus

July 9, 2013

Marinating cheese at home is an easy and elegant appetizer for any party. Jordan Winery Executive Chef Todd Knoll demonstrates how to make his favorite seasonal marinated aged goat cheese appetizer with olive oil, citrus and fresh herbs. Learn how to use citrus from any season, from kumquats in summer to blood oranges in winter, and extra virgin olive oil and herbs to enhance the flavor of semi-hard cheeses. This appetizer recipe can be prepared up to one day in advance, making it a great option for the busy entertainer. Manchego (a hard Spanish cheese) can also be substituted for aged goat cheese. Watch the video and get the recipe below. Video transcription is also provided below.

Marinated Goat Cheese with Citrus, Olive Oil and Herbs
An easy and elegant appetizer to serve at dinner parties, this flavorful cheese course can be adapted year-round by changing citrus with the seasons.

¼ pound aged Cypress Grove Midnight Moon goat cheese (Manchego may be substituted)
4 broadly peeled rind pieces of one blood orange, pith removed (any seasonal citrus)
4 broadly peeled rind pieces of one Meyer lemon, pith removed
10 whole black peppercorns
5 whole white peppercorns
1 cup candied Kumquats, halved (2 Tbsp of English marmalade may be substituted)
One blood orange, peeled and divided into segments (any seasonal citrus with minimal seeds may be substituted)
6 sprigs of thyme
2-4 Turkish bay leaves, whole (California bay may be substituted)
¼ cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fleur de sel to taste

Click here for the instructions.

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Simple, Delicious Appetizer Recipe – Goat Cheese Marinated with Jordan Olive Oil and Citrus

One of my favorite dishes is marinating a hard aged cheese in citrus.  It showcases both the cheese itself and our olive oil.  Everything starts with going to the store or going to your garden.  So whatever citrus looks great and fresh and vibrant, right now the blood oranges are just screaming to be used, we’re using those.  For marinating the cheese with the citrus I recommend a minimum of 24 hours.  So here we have the Cypress Grove, Midnight Moon.  I like to use the goat cheese.  Here we have our citrus supremes, we’ll use to marinate and that’s up to 24 hours I would recommend.  This is just some candy kumquat, the black peppercorns.  In this case I don’t crush them, as would bring out … or toast them, as it will bring out more flavor.  But I don’t want to overpower either the cheese or the olive oil component, so about 10 black peppercorns, a tiny bit of white, a little more heat in the white peppercorn.  This is the zest, pips removed from the blood orange and Cara Cara orange, seedless, always important to get your seedless citrus.  These are Turkish bay leaves, they’re a little more mild than the California bay leaf, dried, maybe two for this amount of cheese.

When presenting any cheese course for a party, we’re looking for about two ounces per person.  The more surface area you have on the cheese, the more that flavor’s going to meld and blend.  So here I would say would be a fair amount for a party of six.  This is Jordan Extra Virgin olive oil, for this amount, for one dinner party, about one-quarter cup of the extra virgin olive oil.  And then this would be covered in plastic wrap, we just toss it to blend and let it rest.  If you’re doing the day or if you get stuck and you can’t do the 24 hours, leave it at room temperature, cheese should always be served at room temperature.  Do not take this dish directly out of the refrigerator.  Not only will the olive oil have congealed but you’re not going to get as much flavor, always bring your cheese first.  In fact when I’m doing a dinner at home, the first thing I do is take the cheese out of the refrigerator.

So to finish the plate, now we can have some fun.  This has now been marinating for a minimum of 24 hours, unless you want to cheat like I normally do at home, then you can bring it out in the morning.  And so just rough, natural, very Mother Nature, we’re doing rustic wine country with flavor and straight from the garden.  I like to use a little more of the fresh that hasn’t been marinated, a touch more of the olive oil.  And then to finish again, a touch of the fresh herb and then the last touch, depending on the felinity of your cheese, you really want to check how much salt you have, so keep tasting, that’s the best part of cooking, and not having to do the dishes, is taking a touch of finishing salt.  These are some large crystals and that’s our dish, a very simple marinated hard cheese, the fruits can change throughout the year, you can use dried fruit if you’re in an area where you don’t have fresh citrus.  I love using citrus because not only … well, I love citrus, but it also picks up some of the citrus notes in our extra virgin olive oil.  And so you’re branching, just as a wine and food pairing, this is a food and olive oil pairing.  The citrus comes out in the oil and then that citrus is bringing it back into the cheese.  I recommend this with the Jordan Chardonnay, the citrus with the cheese, the touch of salt with the acidity in the wine.  It’s one of my favorite pairings, and certainly in the winter.