Herbed Fresh Goat Cheese
in Zucchini Packet
(with Red Pepper
This recipe is my re-creation of an occasional lunch entrée
served at the beach restaurant at Le Club 55 in St. Tropez. It requires
very little cooking and is served cool, so it's a perfect summer dish, either as
dinner entrée or a main dish for a light lunch. But there are a few
techniques you will need to master in making this dish.
First, you need a good mandolin to slice the zucchini into almost paper-thin
strips. You'll need enough shallow ramekins to form individual servings.
And you'll need an experienced hand with seasonings because there are no exact
quantities in this recipe. The goal is to create a sweet, light and
feminine dish with cumin giving it an unexpected twist.
Goat Cheese Mixture
- Crumble about 1/2 cup of mild, unflavored, fresh goat cheese
into the bowl of a small food processor. Add about 2 TBS crème fraîche and process
until smooth. The mixture should be neither runny nor hard -- just
- Finely chop (by hand), a mixture of parsley, marjoram
and chives (about 1 TBS total).
- Add the finely chopped herbs and a pinch of
cumin powder to the goat cheese. Mix in thoroughly. (I prefer
not to add salt to keep the cheese sweet and light tasting.)
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill until ready
to form into individual servings. (The mixture can be made a day ahead
and chilled until ready to form or it can be formed and chilled until ready
- While the goat cheese
mixture is chilling, slice 1 long zucchini lengthwise into about 14-16 very thin
slices using a mandolin (it is NOT possible to do this by hand -- the slices
will not be thin enough to lay into the ramekins).
- Sauté the slices very carefully in a tiny bit of olive oil until
just tender (about 15 seconds per side) and drain on a paper towel.
(The cooked slices are very delicate. So you need to handle them carefully
to avoid breaking apart.) Set them aside until you are ready
to form the individual ramekins.
Red Pepper Coulis:
- De-seed and remove the skin from one red bell pepper by
placing it under the broiler until charred. (I also added one red jalapeno,
charring off the skin in the same way, for
a bit more kick).
- After removing the charred skin, process the flesh into
a smooth paste using a food processor. Add 2 TBS crème fraîche (more or
less) to create a smooth sauce.
- Very carefully arrange the sautéed zucchini slices in
an overlapping pattern in individual ramekins that have been very lightly
coated with olive oil. (Ideal ramekin size is 3" diameter x 2" high.
The ramekins need not be heat proof.) Tuck the slices snuggly
into the corners and drape the excess over the side.
- Fill each ramekin with about 1/3 cup of the herbed goat
cheese mixture and bring the overhanging portion of the zucchini slices over
the top, so that the top of the cheese mixture is completely covered.
Pat down gently with your knuckles. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to
firm up the cheese mixture again.
- When ready to serve, heat the red pepper coulis
in the microwave until just tepid (about 30 seconds) and spread about 1/4 cup on each
individual plate. Invert the zucchini/goat cheese packet
onto the coulis.
- Garnish with a sprig of chervil (optional).
- Serve with a good rosé.