When I realized exactly how much of my day would be taken up driving H-Bomb back and forth to school, I started looking for Fast, Easy recipes in my cookbooks. I wasn't having much luck, so I broke down and ordered a few new ones. Among the gems was this: The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh.
Although I haven't perused it enough to find any family dinner favorites yet, I was lucky to find this appetizer recipe. Bon Appetit makes this dish with goat cheese, which would be great, but I decided their alternate, queso fresco, would better fit in with the Southwestern theme of our Housewarming Extravaganza. Feel free to use either goat cheese or queso fresco, and let me know which you prefer!
The herbed queso fresco was definitely a hit! One guest even declared it was her favorite. I used Mexican oregano, which was a bit strong for my taste, but most of the other guests liked it and kept coming back for more. I'm glad it was popular, since I quadrupled the recipe!
**I just realized while typing this that I completely forgot the olive oil on top! I know I would have liked it better with the olive oil. Don't forget!!**
I used a fork to crumble the cheese in a large bowl. I mixed up the cheese, roasted the chiles and sliced the garlic the day before the party, then assembled it right before the party.
Herbed Queso Fresco with Roasted Chiles
4 servings The blackened chiles add a smoky flavor to this rustic dish. Also known as California chiles, Anaheims can be found at many supermarkets and at Latin markets.
3 large fresh Anaheim chiles
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 5-ounce log soft, fresh goat cheese or 1/2 of a 12-ounce round queso fresco, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 baguette, sliced, toasted
Char chiles over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed chiles, then cut into strips.
Blanch garlic in small saucepan of simmering water 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Chop 1 garlic clove, thinly slice remaining garlic. Mix cheese, cilantro, oregano, and chopped garlic in small bowl. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble cheese mixture onto plate or platter. Top with roasted chiles and sliced garlic.
Drizzle oil over chiles and cheese. Serve with toasted baguette slices.
Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. I refrigerated cheese separately from chiles and garlic. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Top with roasted chiles, garlic and oil before serving.