Monday, March 25, 2013

The Pantry Appetizer Platter

For a wine evening, I had said I would bring "a plate of something". That "something" wasn't defined until after I rummaged in fridge and pantry, and scanned over the herbs I have in my garden (the ones that survive my very un-green fingers). I love this kind of cooking: be creative with whatever your pantry and fridge hold for you. It is also a fabulous way to use leftovers and/or items that need finishing.

For this evening, I found a can of white beans, a chunk of parmesan, mild chorizo, fresh lemons, a large eggplant, leftover roasted red capsicum, soft goat's cheese, cream cheese, leftover sun-dried tomato tortillas, olives (from Markets and Platters), salami, and rosemary and basil begging to be picked.

A platter of a white bean dip, roasted eggplant relish, and creamy goat's cheese pinwheels was in the making.
white bean dip sprinkled with leftover dried espelette (see lamb shanks )
White Bean, Rosemary and Parmesan Dip
1 can white beans
juice of a lemon (or to taste)
1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced
olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan (or to taste)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
  • as if making a classic hummus, pulse the white beans in a food processor with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic until smooth but still thick in consistency. 
  • heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped rosemary and quickly stir until you can smell its fragrant essence (it is less than a minute).
  • Add the rosemary as well as the olive oil it fried in to the white beans, pulse some more. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • spoon in the grated parmesan, and there you have it: white bean, rosemary and parmesan dip

Roasted Eggplant and Chorizo Relish
1 large eggplant
1 roasted red capsicum, skinned, seeded, and diced very small
1/2 cup chorizo, diced small
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch of espelette (or chilli powder to taste)
salt/pepper to taste
fresh lemon juice (to taste)
  • Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and make a couple of cross cuts in the flesh (do not cut through to the skin). Sprinkle with coarse salt and a little olive oil, and roast in a hot oven (200C) until soft.
  • Scrape the eggplant flesh out, and discard the skin. 
  • "dry fry" (means without adding oil) diced chorizo in a hot nonstick frying pan until its oil comes out. Do not brown or fry overly crisp. Drain and add to the eggplant. Add the chorizo oil if you like.
  • Add the diced red pepper, the lemon juice, espelette or chilli powder, and season (all to taste)
  • Mix all ingredients well together, and let stand for at least 30 minutes to infuse all flavors before serving.

Goat Cheese, Basil and Pine Kernel Pinwheels

4 medium size round soft tortillas (I had sun-dried tomato tortillas in my fridge)
100 gr creamy goat cheese, room temperature
100 gr cream cheese (philadelphia), room temperature
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp toasted pine kernels
  • In a mortar and pestle, pound the basil leaves to a paste, add the pine kernels mid-way. 
  • In a deep bowl, mix together the goat and cream cheese until smooth, and add the very basic pesto of basil and pine kernels (I did not add garlic: I think it takes away from the flavors of the goat cheese mixed with fresh basil and nuttiness of the pine kernels, but feel free to add it!). Leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes.
  • Spread the goat cheese and basil mixture in a generous layer on a tortilla.
  • Roll up tight carefully. Repeat with the remaining tortilla and cheese mixture. 
  • Wrap the rolls in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  • Cut just before serving into 1cm wide "rings" and let come to room temperature.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that you gave out the recipe because Subir has been after my life to ask you. It tasted absolutely fabulous. Will let you know if mine turns as tasty as a Le Cordon Bleu chef!