Filled with chunks of fennel, green apple, and crispy maple bacon, this baked goat cheese is best hot from the oven with crusty bread. Bake it in a 9-inch cast iron skillet (which you do not have to butter) or a 9-inch baking dish (buttered).
Recipe from The Boston Globe.
- 8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 slices thick-cut maple bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 green apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 bulb fresh fennel, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fennel fronds (for garnish)
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a 9 inch cast iron skillet or lightly butter a 9-inch baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the goat cheese, cream cheese, chives, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
3. In a dry skillet over medium high heat, render the bacon, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
4. Leave the bacon fat in the pan. Add the butter and when it melts, add the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until it just begins to brown, taking care not to burn it. Add the apples and sliced fennel. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until brown and tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer ⅔ of the apple-fennel mixture to the goat cheese mixture. Add ⅔ of the bacon. Stir gently to combine.
5. Spread the mixture in the skillet or baking dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Transfer to the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden on top. Remove from the oven and garnish with the remaining bacon, apple-fennel mixture, fennel fronds, and parsley.