I am currently addicted to podcasts of Eric Ripert’s cooking show: Avec Eric. I highly recommend that you become addicted as well.
I’ve always had respect for Eric Ripert. (He is head chef of Le Bernardin-a 3 michelin, New York Times 4 star restaurant). As I see it, he is one of a handful of chefs that consistently challenges himself to explore new flavors, develop new dishes, and take risks. He does not rest on a handful of famous recipes that gave him his reputation. I don’t want to sound like a sycophantic bore, but there truly is something special about Ripert’s wide-eyed love for food.
He expresses enthusiasm, wonder and appreciation for each component of cooking. You’d think that he discovered gold when biting into a freshly picked ripe-red tomato. Food doesn’t have to be complicated to be great. When people are busy or when money is tight, remember that a simple assembly of a few great, fresh ingredients can be divine.
Ripert also values savoring and celebration. He emphasizes the community that results when food and cooking brings people together. I unashamedly relate to this sentimental approach to food.
I’ve been trying the recipes available on his website: http://www.aveceric.com. A simple goat cheese appetizer inspired me to create a few simple variations to showcase pomegranate.
In Ripert’s recipe, goat cheese is rolled into balls and rolled in a bread crumb mixture seasoned with olive oil, herbes de provence, fresh sea salt and pepper. The cheese is then broiled briefly and served on thin slices of baguette. Simple and lovely.
I adapted this recipe to create a sweet-savory combination. Goat cheese goes well with many fruit flavors, such as cranberry and pears. Pomegranate seeds add a great bite in texture with the creamy cheese. I add toasted walnuts as well for an earthy, toasted dimension.
POMEGRANATE GOAT CHEESE TOASTS- 4 appetizer servings (two toasts each)
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup crushed, toasted walnuts (or more if you like)
- 4 tsp walnut oil or olive oil
- 4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 8 thin, toasted slices of french baguette bread
- arugula leaves-optional
- Set your oven to broil setting
- Leave goat cheese out of the fridge to come to room temperature
- Mix pomegranate seeds, walnuts, oil, and S&P in a bowl
- In your hands, slice and roll the goat cheese into 8 individual round balls
- Roll the cheese in the pomegranate seed mixture
- Broil for 2-3 minutes
- You can plate these on toasts, or in a bed of arugula leaves drizzled with walnut oil and extracted pomegranate juice. OR on toasts resting on a bed of arugula leaves.
In the spirit of appreciation and respect for ingredients, try to get your pomegranates and walnuts from local food markets. Try to find the french goat cheese from a reputable store instead of a packaged grocery store variety. And savor all sensations of each bite.
Christina, stop rolling your eyes and calling me corny. I see you!