Last week when I shared my recipe for Linguine with Prawns, Spinach, Goat Cheese and Tomatoes, I mentioned that I was first introduced to the wonderful tangy flavor of goat cheese on a camping trip when I was 9. Mentioning that got me reminiscing about the dish that I had on that trip so I decided to share it with you. The recipe itself is nothing too complicated or fancy, after all we were headed to the woods for a couple of days. Perhaps it is the simplicity of the dish and the boldness of the flavors that make me want to cook it again and again.
I remember the day we left for the camping trip pretty well. My mom’s friend picked me up from home and told me we were going to Natures, a natural food store that has since closed down, to get goat cheese. I am thinking “what the heck? why didn’t I ride with my mom? I just want to get to the campsite and I definitely don’t want to stop to get something that came out of a goat” but being 9 didn’t leave me much of an option so I tagged along.
Once we bought the goat cheese we headed to the beach for some camping, playing “slug bug” and “school bus” all the way. Remember that game? By the time we completed the 4 hour drive to the coast, my arm was sore and I was famished. I snacked on some chips as I watched as my mom’s friend cut the top off a head of garlic, placed a little butter on top, sprinkled it with salt and then wrapped it up in aluminum foil before placing it near the fire. She let that cook for about an hour until the cloves were caramelized and soft. Next she wrapped the goat cheese we bought in aluminum foil and placed that near the fire just until it softened slightly. She also placed a loaf of french bread near the fire to warm it up. Once everything was heated she simply spread some of the warmed goat cheese on top of the bread and removed a sweet roasted garlic clove from the head and spread that on top and passed it to me. As I said before, my 9 year old self was a little hesitant because it came from a goat. But the moment I took a bite the combination of the sweetness of the garlic and the tangy creaminess of the goat cheese was like nothing I had ever tasted and I knew I was hooked.
It is this simple recipe that I share with you today. I don’t go camping that much anymore so I have modified it to cook it at home.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut 1/4 inch off the top of the bulb of garlic to expose the cloves beneath, but do not peel the garlic, you want to roast it in the skin. Place bulb on a piece of aluminum foil, place butter on top, pour lemon juice over the garlic and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bring up all sides of aluminum foil and twist together to close. Cook for 60 minutes or until garlic cloves are soft and golden in color. Allow to cool.
While garlic is cooling, remove the plastic wrapper from the goat cheese and wrap the goat cheese in aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 3-4 minutes or until warmed and softened.
To eat, spread warm goat cheese on bread. Remove one garlic clove with a fork, spread on top of goat cheese.