Cabra Con Tomate from Our Community Table
Greetings, Our Community Table Readers
It’s February—a month bursting with social opportunity: Chinese New Year, National Make-a-Friend Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras—to name a few. And this lucky year, we even have Leap Day because don’t we all need just one extra day for random acts of deliciousness?
Food boards are having a moment. We’ve watched them evolve from cheese boards to dessert boards and to butter boards (not too sure about that one), but one thing I am sure of is that most of us truly appreciate a well-done food board. Glorious mixes and matches of flavor, texture, and color are showcased on oversized plates, boards, or trays. Whether made for two, twenty, or two hundred—the numbers don’t matter because, large or small, it always feels a little bit special to be served in such a way. So today, dear readers, I present the entertaining idea of the food board. In particular, for this most fabulous February, a Spanish-themed food board, filled with some of my favorite tried-and-true tapas, assembled board style.
Due to the nature of this column and its space limitations, I am only able to present one of the recipes used on the board at this time, the Cabra Con Tomate, a luscious smoked paprika-scented tomato sauce studded with large slices of creamy chevre, baked in the oven to a melty perfection then richly slathered onto a buttery, garlicky slice of toasted baguette. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? It’s a family favorite. Don’t worry; future articles will feature the others until you have the complete set, like a chapter book, but with recipes!
The Spanish board created for this article, in case you wish to find recipes on your own, includes:
Pan Blistered Shishito Peppers
Patatas Bravas (crispy roasted potato slices with a spicy Bravas sauce and garlic aioli)
Queso de Cabra Con Tomate (soft goat cheese baked in a flavorful tomato sauce served with garlic toast)
Spanish Tortilla (a potato, onion, and egg torte)
Marinated Spanish Olives
Marcona Almonds (toasted and salted to perfection)
Sangria—(make a big pitcher of cold, fruity, red wine.)
Today’s recipe, Cabra Con Tomate (the goat cheese—or chèvre—and tomato sauce) is a version based on a tapa I used to love at the Chicago restaurant Emilios’s—but a cheater’s version. While you can make the base—a tomato sauce from scratch—for the purposes of time and effort, I usually do not. In my cheater’s version, I use a bottled, good quality, marinara (without oregano or basil, or any dominant flavorings—simply a plain, basic tomato marinara) and I add some additional spice to make the flavor balance what I’m looking for. Watch for the rest of the recipes on this board in future articles.
I hope you will be inspired to use your imagination with your creations, adding foods you enjoy, removing those you do not, and perhaps changing the nature of the board from Spanish to Italian, or Middle Eastern. Or use a Valentine’s, Luxury Picnic, or Movie Night theme.
If it’s up to you and only you, you can’t go wrong.
And you do not have to make absolutely everything yourself. Purchasing good quality foods to go along with those you prepare is a wonderful way to cut down on labor.
So, invite your neighbor to tea, throw that Super Bowl party, celebrate National Make-a-Friend Day, or do whatever makes you happy, and when you do, how about a board to get that party started? “All aboard” for a social and celebratory February!
Cabra Con Tomate
(Baked Goat Cheese in Spicy Tomato Sauce)
1 jar (24 ounces) of marinara sauce (high quality like Rao’s or Mario Batali)
½ slightly rounded teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika (or more…do it to taste but start with that amount…you can always add it, but you can’t take it out!)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste…the sauce should have a slight hint of spice but not be “hot” or spicy in an aggressive way…just warm spice.
1 8-ounce log good quality goat cheese (Chevre)
Place marinara sauce, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan. Heat on low and simmer for 20 minutes to cook the fresh tomato flavor out of the sauce and let the spice flavors develop.
Remove from heat and place in an attractive, oven-proof serving dish/ bowl. Place goat cheese in the dish on top of the sauce so that the sauce comes about ¾ of the way up the sides of the cheese but does not entirely cover it.
Cover dish with foil and place in a warm 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is warm.
Serve warm with thin slices of garlic-flavored, buttered toasted baguettes.
Visit TheJewishFed.org/Recipes for my toasted french baguette recipe.