Have you ever needed a quick snack or appetizer to serve for friends or at a Holiday get-together, and you took out some cream cheese, slathered some pepper jelly on top and put some crackers alongside the dubious-yet-tasty pile?
Don’t lie, you know you have. And if you have (I know you have – hey, I have, it’s gooood), then this little treat might be for you.
Originally the recipe called for blood oranges, and since much to my delighted surprise, my grocery store actually had moro blood oranges, I decided we needed to make something with them. This recipe seemed perfect. Except, my grocery store is nothing if not a tease, and when I went to purchase said bloody beauties, they no longer had them. Picture me, stumped and blinking at the oranges available. And a little disappointed. I feel like the produce department has probably wondered if they need to carefully approach the very still woman who comes in every week and now seems completely lost and see if there’s someone they need to call for her.
I think this recipe is filed over at Epicurious.com as quick and easy. Ha! More on that further down.
It certainly seems easy when you have so few ingredients…
So even though the recipe called for blood oranges and we couldn’t get any, I decided we could still make it with regular oranges. I snagged some California navels, which were smaller than the Florida version. I hoped this meant they’d be nice and juicy and sweet. Turns out I was right. Which is awesome. Nothing’s worse than looking forward to an orange and turns out it’s dry and/or tastes like a household cleaning agent.
Here the zest of one orange is added to the creamy goat cheese. I almost wished we’d mixed in a little of the orange juice as well, to give this layer of the crostini a little more pop.
See all those cut-up orange segments in that pan?
Dudes, the recipe requires that you cut each segment away from their skins, or the membranes as they’re sometimes called. I really wasn’t anticipating it to be so…time consuming. Plus, you have to include some of the orange peel, minus the white pith, and peeling an orange with a veggie peeler and trying NOT to include the pith turned out impossible for us. So we also had to scrape each piece of peel to get all the sour, unwanted pith off.
This was not a quick process when compared to the amount we were making. Thank goodness we weren’t making enough marmalade to feed the dang county. The county would’ve been SOL. That’s sorry – out of luck, since this is a polite blog. Heh!
But after feeling like Cinderella forced to slave over orange peels, for, oooh, an hour, you do get tasty results. And really, this took us, total, a little over and hour (but we have to factor in picture-taking time, too, which you won’t have), which isn’t that long to prep a fun little food item for friends or just family even. You could also count this as a good make ahead appetizer. Just make up the marmalade, stir together the goat cheese and zest, refrigerate them separately and toast your bread slices before assembling and serving.
While there are some things I’d do differently with this recipe next time, I think that in the end it’s one that works. The goat cheese is like a more sophisticated cream cheese, and the orange marmalade marries well with it, a pop of citrus sweetness against the sharp tang of the cheese. Next time I will go slightly thinner on the bread slices, spread a little less goat cheese on them and maybe even add more pepper to the marmalade! In ours it wasn’t at all overpowering and we liked how pleasant it was with the other flavors.
So here’s your grown-up sweet-topped cream cheese appetizer – enjoy!
Goat Cheese Crostini with Orange & Black Pepper Marmalade
Adapted from Goat Cheese Crostini with Blood Orange and Black Pepper Marmalade, Bon Appétit, December 2007
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: About 45 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 6
- 8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, room temperature
- 4 blood oranges, divided
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup honey (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 18 1/2-inch-thick slices French or raisin baguette, toasted
Place goat cheese in small bowl. Finely grate 1 teaspoon peel from 1 blood orange; stir peel into cheese.
Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (orange part only) in strips from remaining 3 oranges. Cut peel into 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces and place in medium saucepan. Using small sharp knife, cut white pith from all 4 oranges. Working over another small bowl to catch juices, cut between orange membranes to release segments. Squeeze any remaining juice from membranes into bowl. Discard membranes. Coarsely chop orange segments and add to saucepan along with any juices. Add juices from bowl to saucepan. Stir in honey and 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook uncovered until thick and reduced to 1/2 cup, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Cool. Season with more ground black pepper to taste and with fresh lemon juice, if desired. DO AHEAD: Cheese and marmalade can be made 1 day ahead; cover separately and chill. Bring to room temperature before assembling crostini.Top toasted baguette slices with goat cheese, then marmalade. Place crostini on platter and serve.
Separating the oranges from their pith and the thin membranes/skin of each segment did turn out to be a little tedious for us, but then again it’s not something we normally do. With that process, the entire recipe still didn’t take but an hour or so to do, but yes, it was a little tedious anyway.
I did ours a little differently in that I cut the oranges in large slices, then cut each little segment away from their skins and then peeled each individual bit of peel from each section. This way, too, they were already cut into nice, neat little pieces.
We actually accidentally used 1/3 cup of honey, but I was glad in the end because it ended up being the perfect amount of sweetness for us to balance the sharp tang of the goat cheese. Use it to taste.
We ended up not using the lemon juice.
Even though we filed this under appetizers, this could also make a great breakfast or brunch option as well.