This Crunchy-Creamy Goat Cheese Toast Is What Snack Dreams Are Made Of

Guest-starring fried walnuts and tangy olives.

March 14, 2019

We've partnered with Sofia Wines to share simple, springtime recipes that are best enjoyed outside—and with a glass of wine.

There are few things I am as passionate about as bread. From fluffy focaccia to a crusty French baguette and everything in between, there's truly no loaf I'll turn down. So it should come as no surprise that Julia Turshen's grilled bread with goat cheese, olives, and crispy walnuts was quick to win my heart.

Easy enough to pull together for a super-quick snack yet impressive enough for a laidback get-together, this versatile recipe combines a handful of familiar flavors (and ingredients you likely already have lying around) in an inspired way.

Photo by Rocky Luten

Julia always stocks her fridge with goat cheese (she uses it a lot for omelets) and keeps some kind of nuts and olives in her cupboard, so they were natural picks as toast-toppers. But she kicks everything up a notch with one simple technique I can't get enough of: giving the walnuts a quick fry in olive oil. This little bit of time in the pan (be careful not to burn them!) gives the nuts a richer taste and even crispier texture. It also creates a warm dressing to toss with fresh parsley, chopped olives, and lemon juice, all of which balance the fatty, crunchy walnuts.

Once that bright and tangy mixture is ready to go, it's time for that goat cheese toast. One trick when it comes to goat cheese is to treat it like butter. To get a good, thick smear on your bread (as opposed to a crumble), it needs to be at room temperature. Which means it should sit out about 30 minutes before you plan to get snacking.

If goat cheese, walnuts, or olives aren't your jam, there are plenty of substitutions you can make, depending on what's in your fridge or pantry. "These would be delicious with hazelnuts or almonds," Julia says; likewise with pickled peppers or even capers instead of olives. If you want to go the vegan route, you could swap in mashed avocado for the goat cheese. And for something a little heartier, you could broil cheddar or Swiss cheese on top of the bread and then garnish with the parsley-walnut mixture (or a combination of whatever herbs and nuts you have stocked—it's hard to go wrong here).

No matter which direction you take it, though, this addictive, savory toast is best served with a glass of wine. Julia likes something with a little bubble in it to help cut the richness of the cheese and olives. And she opts for something on the drier side for the exact same reason—to balance the whole thing out. Aside from that, the next-best thing you can pair this dish with is a crisp spring weekend and a couple of friends.

In partnership with Sofia Wines, Francis Ford Coppola Winery's brand of bright and effervescent wines inspired by his daughter, we're sharing seasonal recipes perfect for outdoor entertaining. There are so many ways to riff on this easy grilled recipe—from goat cheese and crispy walnuts to avocado and pickled peppers—each tastier than the next. For a delicious pairing that will complement any grilled bread variation, serve Sofia's Blanc de Blancs, a vibrant sparkling white wine with flavors of apple and pear, plus notes of citrus and honeysuckle.

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Erin Alexander is the Brand Partnerships Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.