Happy Tuesday! Although I’m sure y’all love my introductory ramblings, I’m skipping all that to jump right in. I have an amazing post for y’all today, including some tasty sneak peek pics of food from Monterey and an amazing recipe using fresh California strawberries , balsamic vinegar and goat cheese. I know, the trifecta of awesome. I’ll give you a sneak peek.
Mouth watering yet? Now, before we dig into that recipe, I have to share some of the amazing food I had while out in California. The people at the California Strawberry Commission were AMAZING. Everything was incredible and they were so accommodating! I’m working on my full, foodie recap which will be up tomorrow, so I thought I’d share just a few sneak peek photos of the amazing food I ate!
There was certainly no shortage of incredible food and ingredients. As soon as I got to Monterey, my head was already buzzing with delicious ideas for an innovative recipe using plump strawberries. I could do a light shortcake or a fresh strawberry cake. But no, what about something savory, like roasted strawberries with chicken or steak? It wasn’t until I took a bite of the balsamic strawberry panna cotta we had on Wednesday that it hit me.
I’ll do a roasted strawberry and balsamic vinegar compote! Then, I’ll serve it on crunchy French bread. But no, that wasn’t all. It needed something else. Then, as my typical craving for soft cheese hit, I knew what it was missing. GOAT CHEESE. So, this pretty little canapè was born.
I can’t describe how good these are. I just can’t. Sweet, savory, tangy, decadent, crunchy. There’s so many delicious adjectives I could use, but none of them do it justice. The combination of the sweet, savory and tangy is just…unreal.
What I love so much about this dish is how simple it is. Just a few fresh ingredients and a bit of baking time. No weird steps or strange oils, just real stuff. Real food. I love fancy food and crazy techniques, but I also love farm-to-table, real, simple food. Call me a plain, Midwestern gal, but a piece of bread with some cheese and fruit is an easy way to my heart.
This recipe sort of encompassed how we ate and what we learned while in Monterey. All the strawberries we ate were right from the farm down the street. The cheeses were made IN HOUSE. The pork cured in the chef’s basement. That’s the kinda food I love.
Y’all, seriously, make this. And then report back with your explanation of how good it is. It’s honestly, just…make it. That’s all. Just make it. And pair it with wine! Because that’s what people do in California. They always pair things with wine. Why am I not living there yet?
Roasted Balsamic Strawberry & Goat Cheese Canapè
Yields 8 canapès & about 1 cup compote.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
8 pieces of crispy French bread
3/4 lb of strawberries, stems removed
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Dash of salt and pepper
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon honey
6 ounces of soft goat cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place whole strawberries on the parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they start to caramelize.
Remove from pan and place in a medium size mixing bowl. Add in balsamic (minus the 1 tablespoon), olive oil, honey and salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon or other kitchen utensil (I used a whisk), mash the mixture together until a chunky jam forms. Taste the mixture and add additional balsamic, honey, or salt or pepper to taste. [If still a bit sweet or not sweet enough.]
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Place slices of bread on a baking sheet with new parchment paper. Spread cheese over each slice. Add about 1 teaspoon or so of compote. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until bread is browned and cheese is slightly melty. Add a few sprigs of fresh arugula and enjoy!