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I love, love, love, love, love this little ball of flavor and goodness. Did I mention that I love it? I did? But did I mention that I detest goat cheese? HA! I didn’t! See? I tricked you. Seriously, though, I don’t like goat cheese. It’s too tangy for me. But when I saw this recipe, I thought I’d give it a chance. And boy am I glad I did. Imagine this: goat cheese with a minced clove of garlic formed into a ball, dipped in a parmesan/panko mixture, and set into a shallow dish of basil infused olive oil. You slice off a piece of the cheese, it falls into the oil, and then you pick it up and spread it on a slice of this ciabatta bread. Seriously. So. Good.
parmesan crusted goat cheese in basil infused olive oil
for the goat cheese:
½ oz. Parmesan cheese
¼ cup panko (available near the bread crumbs in your grocery store)
Freshly ground pepper
4 oz. semi-firm plain goat cheese
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp. coarse salt, plus more to taste
for the basil oil:
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 clove garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place the Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add the panko to the bowl and pulse a few more times so the cheese and crumbs have an even, fine texture. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. Transfer to a shallow plate or bowl. Wipe out the bowl of the food processor.
Place the goat cheese in a small bowl. Finely mince the garlic. Sprinkle the salt over the minced garlic and smash the mixture together with a fork or the side of a chef’s knife until it forms a paste. Add the garlic paste to the bowl with the goat cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the mixture together until smooth and well blended. Form the goat cheese mixture into a round ball. Roll the ball in the Parmesan-panko mixture until well coated. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
To make the basil oil, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the basil leaves to the pot and boil for 30 seconds. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water. Blot the basil leaves with a towel to remove all of the excess water. Add the basil leaves and the garlic to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until finely minced. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the food processor running, add the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Continue processing until the mixture is well blended and the oil takes on a green hue. Strain the oil mixture through a fine mesh sieve onto a serving plate. Place the ball of goat cheese in the center of the basil oil. Garnish with additional fresh basil if desired. Serve with baguette or ciabatta slices.