Baked cheese with leafy spoons and toast

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - The Cut // Food -

Serves 8 — 2 chicory heads, if pos­si­ble one white and one red

— 6 slices brown farm­house bread

— 1 whole cheese with a soft rind, such as Tun­worth, Camem­bert or sim­i­lar — 2 thyme sprigs Pre­pare the dip­ping ‘tools’ first. Pre­heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.

Pull all the leaves off the chicory heads, large and small, then set aside in a cool place. Toast the bread and cut off the crusts. Use a ser­rated knife in­serted hor­i­zon­tally into the slice to di­vide each one into two thin toasts.

Cut each thin slice into four tri­an­gles and place on a bak­ing sheet. Put in the oven and bake un­til crisp and curled, about eight min­utes.

Cook the cheese at the same time. If it comes in a wooden con­tainer, un­wrap it and place back in the box with­out the plas­tic.

If there is no box, un­wrap the cheese and cut a piece of bak­ing parch­ment long enough to wrap around the cir­cum­fer­ence with about 5cm ex­tra. The width should be roughly twice that of the depth of the cheese. Fold the strip in half length­ways and then wrap it around the sides of the cheese, tuck­ing in the ex­tra flap to keep it con­tained.

Make a hole in the cen­tre of the cheese and in­sert the thyme sprigs.

Place the cheese on a bak­ing sheet lined with bak­ing parch­ment, then put in the oven to bake. When you see the sur­face of the cheese be­gin to puff and crack in places (about 10 min­utes), re­move from the oven.

Cut a trap­door-style lid out of the top, then serve im­me­di­ately with the warm toasts and chicory spoons.

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