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Author Notes: This is another recipe that has my favorite characteristic: easy to make while appearing complex. Simple, but elegant. This is the kind of dish that makes it look like you really know what you are doing in the kitchen. Like you actually are the kind of person who could just throw together a magazine-spread worthy gathering at a moment’s notice.
Don’t skip draining the ricotta or your baked dish will be watery. - TheRunawaySpoon
Food52 Review: We're suckers for baked cheese in any form, but TheRunawaySpoon's rendition offers something above and beyond typical comfort food appeal. The tomatoes really do taste like candy -- the brown sugar and vermouth turn to syrup in the pan and cloak the cherry tomatoes, caramelizing their edges as they pop and start to collapse. The whole dish is infused with marjoram, a rich, woodsy herb that is too often overlooked. We recommend perching a slice of the creamy, salty ricotta and goat cheese on a piece of good baguette, and then topping it with a tomato and some syrup for the perfect bite. -A&M —The Editors
For the baked cheese
- 15 ounces whole milk ricotta
- 4 ounces log goat cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves, or leafy herb of your choice
- generous grinding of black pepper
- generous sprinkling of kosher salt
For the candied tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup vermouth
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 sprigs marjoram, or leafy herb of your choice
- sea salt
- For the baked cheese: Place the ricotta in a colander lined with cheese cloth and leave to drain for about 30 minutes, pressing down to help extract liquid.
- Preheat the oven 375 degrees. Brush the inside of a 2 cup baking dish with olive oil.
- In the small bowl of a stand mixer, beat the ricotta, goat cheese and egg until smooth. Beat in the herbs (chopped if the leaves are large), a generous amount of pepper and salt. Taste your goat cheese first, saltier cheeses require less additional salt.
- Spoon the cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until puffed in the center and browning.
- Let the cheese cool slightly, then invert it out onto a plate.
- For the tomatoes: While the cheese is baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then drop in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the skins on the tomatoes start to split. Pull the pan off the flame, add the vermouth and return to the heat. Add the brown sugar and herbs and stir until the sugar is melted. Add a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat and cook gently until the liquid is reduced to a syrupy coating for the tomatoes. The tomatoes will collapse and some may disintegrate. That’s fine.
- When ready to serve, spoon the candied tomatoes over the warm baked cheese and serve with sliced baguette or crostini.
- The baked cheese can be prepared a few hours in advance and then baked before serving. It is best served warm, but not necessarily right out of the oven. The tomatoes can be prepared ahead too and gently reheated before serving.
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