This recipe is inspired by my recent discovery that Brie and Camembert bake really well. What I actually mean is that they very quickly turn into the most delectable, oozy molten deliciousness soon after you put them in the oven.
Melted cheese is irresistible.
Brie wrapped in Parma ham with thyme was a total winner when Fritz and I cooked it on an oak plank on the braai recently, so expanding on this idea, I thought I’d make a sort of hot-cheesy dip version.
I’m going to talk about the ingredients here because this recipe consists of only 4. So what you put in is what you get out. Use the best you can.
I used the wonderful Fairview Royden Camembert which I found in the bottom of my goody bag from the Food Blog Indaba a few weeks ago. I used all 250g of this handcrafted cheese made from a blend of Jersey and goats milk.
Bacon makes everything better, its as simple as that, but at the risk of sounding a little snobby, I only like to use a dry-cured bacon these days. Preferreably made in an artisinal way. I bought the 12 Pigs pancetta style bacon from Anura from Giovanni’s. It was the first time I’ve cooked with it, and I loved it. I cant wait to get my hands on the other delectable looking pork products in their range. Anura also make some fine cheeses.
3. Marinaded or pickled peppers
Here I used another little treasure from the blog Indaba goody bag, a jar of Pick n Pay’s Mixed Pepper Antipasto from their Finest range. Pickled and preserved with garlic, herbs and spices it was the perfect and most convenient accompaniment to this dish. You would also find similar versions in your local deli counter. Char grilled peppers with the skins removed would work well too.
4. Fresh Thyme
A few springs of fresh thyme make this simple dish do a little jump.
Chop up about 80 – 100g of dry cured bacon and lightly fry this until it just starts to brown and go crispy. Set aside and drain on paper towel.
Chop the 250g wheel of Camembert into small cubes and mix this with about 3 tablespoons of chopped peppers. Add the crispy bacon and the leaves from about 2 – 3 sprigs of thyme and mix.
Place in an appropriately sized ramekin or smallish oven-proof dish. I made a small and medium sized one.
Bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes checking at about 10 minutes into the cooking time to stir the mixture.
Serve this immediately out the oven with chunks of warmed crispy bread.
You could let your imagination run wild and make variations of this. Think coppa, salami or biltong. Pepperdews, caramelised onions or mushrooms. What about truffle oil?
My next version will be onion marmalade and coriander, a combination that worked so well together with Brie in this ensemble.
To watch a short recipe-video on how to simply bake a wheel of Camembert in a vine leaf, pop over to the Woolworths Pantry site to see how easily it is done.
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