"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Creole Baked Goat Cheese In Roasted Red Pepper Cups

By: Bahama Breeze

Yield: 2 to 4 servings.

For garlic crouton rounds:
1/2 loaf French baguette
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
5 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature

For peppers and goat cheese:
2 medium red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
4 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
3/4 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
Fresh tomato salsa (see note)

To prepare crouton rounds: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into 16 1/4-inch-thick slices.

In a small mixing bowl, blend garlic, parsley and butter until thoroughly mixed. Spread both sides of bread slices with garlic butter. Just before serving, place on a cookie sheet; and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

To prepare peppers and goat cheese: Cut tops off bell peppers. Remove seeds and veins; trim bottoms to allow the pepper cup to stand up. Rub the inside of each pepper with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil; season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in a pie plate, open side up, and bake 7 minutes. Turn peppers upside down to allow excess juices to drain out; let cool. (This roasting step will soften the pepper slightly. The final cooking takes place after the peppers are stuffed.)

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat; add garlic and onion. Saute just until onion becomes translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.

Transfer the onion-garlic mixture to a bowl; add goat cheese, tomato, cilantro, parsley and hot-pepper sauce. Stir with a rubber spatula to blend thoroughly. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Fill red pepper cups with goat cheese mixture; bake 12 minutes. Garnish with a light sprinkling of minced fresh parsley. Center peppers on a serving platter; arrange croutons around. Serve with fresh tomato salsa on the side.

PER SERVING (based on 4 servings): 331 calories; 28g fat (76 percent of calories from fat); 14g saturated fat; 52mg cholesterol; 7.5g protein; 13g carbohydrate; 3.5g sugar; 2g fiber; 162mg sodium; 62mg calcium; 212mg potassium.

Note: Bahama Breeze's tomato salsa includes tomatoes, hot green peppers, red onions and fresh herbs.

Testers' note: When eating this dish, we recommend cutting the pepper cups into wedges. This way everyone gets the combination of filling and roasted pepper together.

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