I love having friends that enjoy cooking and eating. There is just something magical that happens when fellow gourmands gather together in the kitchen and/or at the table to combine their common love of gastronomy. Last night, I spent Easter dinner with just that type of friends. This year was Samantha’s turn to host the springtime feast in her un-christened apt. She baked a deeeelicious roast lamb (complete with mint jelly), set a delightful table with Grandma’s linens, and the invitees brought the rest: salad, broccoli, risotto, cheesy potatoes, rolls, lots of wine, and Tofutti Cuties®. It was definitely a holiday dining experience to remember.
I brought the appetizer: Garlic, Bell Pepper Sauce with Sautéed Cheese and Toasted French Bread Rounds. A few years ago, while attending the theatre festival in Aurillac, France, Fred (a friend extremely talented in the culinary arts) made this dish. He’d found it in French Elle, though I have changed a few measurements since then. I’ve made it a couple of times, and it remains a hit. Tell me what you think. Enjoy!
Cheese Slices Sautéed in Bell Pepper Sauce
2 seeded & sliced Green or Red Peppers (don’t mix, or sauce will come out a very strange color)
1/4 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
4 Garlic Cloves
3/4 cup Olive Oil (plus a bit for sautéing the cheese)
1 slice Day-Old Bread (I used a sourdough roll.)
3 tblsp. White Wine Vinegar (Last night, I used White Balsamic Vinegar.)
4 slices Tomme de Laguiole, Cantal or another sturdy cheese (Provolone)
1/4 bunch chopped Cilantro (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Allow bell peppers to boil in water for 15 minutes. Remove from water and purée in a food processor with 3/4 cup olive oil, cumin, cayenne, 3 cloves of garlic (mashed), and day-old bread. Add vinegar and mix until blended. Salt & pepper to taste and place in one dinner plate or 4 salad plates. 20 minutes before dining, heat a bit (about 3 tablespoons) of olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add remaining garlic clove (mashed). When hot, place the slices of cheese in the skillet and cook till golden on both sides. Once cooked, slide cheese onto the plate(s) of bell pepper sauce, and add fresh chopped cilantro as a garnish. Serve with toasted French bread rounds and wine. Mmmmm….