Thursday, 22 March 2007

Garlic Baked Brie with a Roasted Tomato and Garlic Salad

A couple of weeks ago our local weekend farmer's market had a stall from Simon Weaver's Cotswold Organic Dairy. The woman at the stall was selling a regular Brie and a herby Brie, and, after having samples of both, Anna and I walked away with a couple of cheeses.

The Brie would have been delicious sliced and eaten with bread, but I wanted to do something a little bit nicer with it. The day I made this was bright and sunny with daffodils sprouting up across the street and it seemed the perfect accompaniment to the seeming onset of spring.

Of course, the past couple of days have been cold and miserable with biting winds and flurries of snow so the recipe was perhaps a little bit premature. Even so, it made for an enjoyable afternoon meal.

The Recipe:

Garlic baked Brie with a roasted tomato and garlic salad

For the Brie:
1 small or medium Brie
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

For the salad:
8-10 small to medium sized tomatoes
As much garlic as you like (I think I used 6 or 7 cloves)
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat an oven to 170C. Place the whole tomatos and whole peeled garlic cloves in an ovenproof dish and add a good glug of olive oil and some seasoning. Place in the oven.

In the meantime, finely slice two or three cloves of garlic. Cut slits into the top of the Brie and stuff the slits with the garlic. Place in an ovenproof dish (or on a baking tray lined with parchment paper) and put in the oven. You'll want to put the cheese in the oven when the tomatos and garlic are already soft. When the cheese is soft and runny in the middle, take out the tomatos, tear some basil leaves and scatter them over the salad, and then take out the cheese and serve it immediately with slices of French bread.

What is healthy about this recipe:
The salad should be reasonably healthy, but I can't say the same about eating half a cheese. This dish is an indulgence, but that's okay from time to time.

What is seasonal in this recipe:
This recipe is better suited to the spring or summer when tomatoes can be sourced locally. Though, to make the recipe more seasonal, all you would need to do is to make a salad or another kind of vegetable dish out of more appropriate vegetables because the cheese is fine year-round.

What I will change next time:
The recipe is really good as it is but there are a lot of variations that can be made with it. Camembert is a lovely cheese to use instead of the Brie. Instead of garlic, herbs such as thyme work really well.

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