I love cheese. Baby Lady tells me I am just a large rat. There is something about fermented milk with a little rennet and whatnots that simply sets my soul free.
When I was younger I was never a big fan of goat cheese. Feta was OK but if you wanted real cheese, it was cow’s milk (I was born in Wisconsin). Sharp cheddar was my favorite although there were some incredibly creamy Mexican cheeses we ate when in Mexico that made me dream of cheese at night. Unfortunately, you could not get the Mexicn cheeses in the US at that time like you can now. Nevertheless, as I got older I began to eat more and more goat cheese. Now, it is one of my favorite cheeses. This is a beautiful appetizer and easy to make, too. Give it a try.
- 8 oz fresh goat cheese
- 1/4 t minced garlic
- 1/4 t minced fresh tarragon
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 12 oz Portobello mushroom caps
- 2 roasted red bell peppers
- 2 T olive oil
- fresh tarragon sprigs, for garnish
Preheat a charcoal fire or gas grill to high. An indoor broiler may also be used. Mix the goat cheese with the garlic and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Brush the mushrooms with the olive oil. When the fire is hot, grill the mushrooms on both sides, until they begin to brown and the juices just begin to exude. Remove from the heat and set aside in a single layer to cool. When cooled, cut the mushrooms on the bias into thin strips to expose the maximum amount of interior surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Roast the peppers charring all around. Put in a paper bag and let cool. When cooled, peel the charred skin but do not put under running water or rinse as you remove much of the flavor. Remove the seeds and membranes from the roasted peppers. Set aside.
Lightly oil a 1-3/4 x 2″ mold (If you don’t have a mold use a tomato paste can).
To build the napoleons, cut the mushroom caps and roasted peppers into thinly sliced pieces to fit the diameter of the mold. Place a layer of the mushrooms in the mold. Top the mushrooms with a layer of the goat cheese mixture, about 2 teaspoons. Gently push down the goat cheese into a layer about the same thickness throughout. Top with a layer of roasted pepper and then another layer of the goat cheese mixture. Continue in this fashion until the mold is full. Each napoleon should have about 4 layers of vegetables and 3 layers of goat cheese. Refrigerate the molds for at least 30 minutes before serving.
To serve: push the napoleons out of the molds onto serving plates. Decorate the tops of each napoleon with the bell pepper strips and fresh tarragon sprigs. Place each napoleon on a serving plate and drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the dressing over the top of each one.