Texas produces some of the most incredible goat cheese you are likely to encounter. One way of using it is in this appetizer, which comes from Mozzarella Company founder Paula Lambert by way of Mexican culinary authority Patricia Quintana. It’s perfect for Fiesta parties or any time of year. As Lambert says in “The Cheese Lovers Cookbook & Guide, “You’ll find that mild fresh goat cheese is the perfect match for this spicy, vinegary salsa. This is a great hors d’oeuvre to serve before a Mexican meal, or anytime, for that matter.”
Ancho Chile and Sun-Dried Tomato Salsa with Goat Cheese
4 large dried ancho chiles
10 dry-packed sun-dried tomato halves
½ small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 ounces (2/3 cup) fresh goat cheese
Tortilla chips, for serving
Slit the ancho chiles lengthwise. Remove the seeds and discard. Place the chiles and tomatoes in a dry skillet. Toast them over medium heat, flattening the chiles and tomatoes with the back of a spatula and turning them several times, until aromatic and slightly darkened. Watch carefully, as they can burn quickly. Transfer the chiles and tomatoes to two separate bowls and cover each with hot water. Let them sit until plumped and pliable, about 15 minutes for the tomatoes and 30 minutes for the chiles; to keep them immersed in the water, push them down with the back of a spoon every 5 minutes or so.
Remove the tomatoes from the water, pat dry and cut into ¼-inch julienne strips. Place in a bowl.
Remove the chiles from the water, pat dry and remove any remaining seeds, the ribs and the stems. Cut into 1/4 –inch julienne strips. Add to the tomatoes, then add the onion, garlic, oil, vinegar, oregano and salt. Let the salsa stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour so that the flavors blend.
To serve, put the salsa in a shallow dish. Slice the goat cheese into 1-inch-thick rounds and place on top of the salsa, or coarsely crumble it over the salsa. Serve at room temperature accompanied by the tortilla chips.
Makes about 6 servings.
From “The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide” by Paula Lambert