Thursday, June 20, 2013

Queso de Cambra

One of my memorable dates with the Baron was when we went to a local tapas place, followed by a romantic evening stroll through the Chicago Botanic Gardens. {And yes, I've got a cheesy grin as I'm typing this.} Another tidbit about the Baron is that he's actually been to Spain and traveled to Barcelona - a place where I would love to go someday. I can only imagine how traditional tapas places are with their varied offerings. But of all the different tapas I've seen on local menus, probably one of my most favorite tapas dishes is Queso de Cambra. It's just tangy baked goat cheese with a fragrant tomato & basil sauce, served on toasted crostini. Simple, yet oh so good...

This is one tapas I think everyone can make easily at home. It only requires bread, goat cheese, tomato sauce and basil. The recipe below adds some minced garlic and olive oil to the bread for additional flavor but it really isn't necessary. For the goat cheese, feel free to substitute with a flavored version that would pair well with tomato sauce. And speaking of the tomato sauce, a can of crushed tomatoes or even your favorite marinara or pasta sauce would work too. I wouldn't use dried basil for the fresh because the flavor just doesn't come through as well with dried basil. To serve, toast some sliced French bread [or gluten free hot dog buns] brushed with olive oil or butter.

Queso de Cambra
recipe from Whole Foods

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Baguette of bread, sliced
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, minced 

Preheat conventional oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Mix together garlic and olive oil and spread over bread slices and place on a baking sheet.

Pat goat cheese into a 1/2-inch pancake and place in shallow baking dish. Ladle tomato sauce into dish to come up to top edge of cheese (do not cover the cheese with sauce). Bake, uncovered, until sauce begins to bubble at edges and cheese is hot, about 25 minutes. 

During last 10 minutes of baking, toast bread until golden brown. Garnish cheese with basil if using.