Goat cheese (Recipe: grilled vegetable and goat cheese puff pastry tart with zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and onions)
When I first opened the doors of The Perfect Pantry, I put Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese up on a pedestal (as well it should be), and lumped all of the other cheeses together as, well... assorted cheese.
I apologize for that.
I apologize to you, and to the cheese: to the salty bite of feta; to the nutty smoothness of Gruyere and Swiss; to the creaminess of brie and camembert; and to the tangy acidity of goat cheese.
Goat cheese does things few other cheeses can do -- it spreads and melts -- and for that it's earned its own place on my refrigerator shelf.
What is goat cheese?
Also called goat's milk cheese or chevre, a soft or semi-hard cheese made from the milk of goats. The flavor will be influenced by what the goats eat. Goat cheese produced in areas with limited refrigeration is salted as a preservative measure.
How/where to store:
In the refrigerator for a few days; in the freezer for up to six months. Let cheese come to room temperature before serving or cooking.
Grilled vegetable and goat cheese puff pastry tart with zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and onions
You will wow your friends with this elegant and oh-so-easy tart. A package of puff pastry from the freezer (I use Pepperidge Farm), a bit of goat cheese, and any vegetables you can toss on the grill: that's all there is to it. Serves 6-8.
1 package frozen puff pastry (2 pieces)
1/2-3/4 cup goat cheese, at room temperature
1 large or 2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise
1 red pepper, core and seeds removed, cut in half
2 portobello mushroom caps
1 red or sweet onion, peeled, cut into large rings
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
A few Tbsp of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyere cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
Set the puff pastry on the counter to defrost while you prepare the filling for the tart. Bring the goat cheese out of the refrigerator. Preheat the grill to high. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the vegetables on a platter, brush on both sides with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. When the grill is heated, cook the vegetables for 2-3 minutes per side, until they are cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly.
Sprinkle a counter top with flour, and roll out one sheet of puff pastry. Place it on the prepared baking sheet.
Spread the goat cheese over the pastry, leaving a half-inch margin all the way around. Slice the red pepper and mushrooms, and arrange all of the vegetables in layers on top of the goat cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top. Paint the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg.
Roll out the second sheet of pastry, and fit it over the top of the vegetables. Make sure to press down all around the edge to form a tight seal. If needed, use a sharp knife to trim the edge to make it even. Press down on the edge with the tines of a fork, all the way around the pastry, to complete the seal.
Brush (with a pastry brush) the egg wash over the top of the pastry. Wait for one minute, then apply a second coat. With a sharp knife, make three diagonal slits in the top of the pastry; be sure to cut all the way through the pastry.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is browned and puffed. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Other recipes that use goat cheese:
Smoked salmon, dill and goat cheese quiche, from Simply Recipes
Balsamic beet greens and goat cheese crostini, from White on Rice Couple
Goat cheese custard with strawberries in red wine syrup, from David Lebovitz
Quick asparagus and goat cheese pasta, from Ezra Pound Cake
Green chile, cheddar and goat cheese croquettes, from Use Real Butter