For a delicious appetizer, it doesn’t get much better than baked cheese. To be more specific rounds of baked goat cheese tucked between chunky marinara sauce will be sure to impress your guests. It is super simple to assemble and bake. You will make this and then Baked Feta Cheese next time.
There’s just something so irresistible about a warm goat cheese appetizer. Add tomatoes to that and serve it with crusty bread and you have everything you need for a shareable bite to eat.
I have such a soft spot for baked cheese. And I’m not talking about the kinds that are gooey, melty and best for topping a pizza. No.
Certain cheeses more or less hold their shape even when you heat them, and it’s when you dig in that you discover they’ve become velvety on the inside.
If you’ve only used goat cheese in salads or for finishing other dishes, then it’s likely you just took it out of the package, crumbled it, if it didn’t already come that way, and that was it.
Things are different when you heat goat cheese. Above everything else, don’t expect it to melt. Since it’s a fresh cheese like feta and ricotta, it has a higher moisture content than firm cheeses such as cheddar, which are meant for melting.
Once the goat cheese is warm, it becomes kind of delicate. Even though it may look the same as it did before it went into the oven other than being golden in spots, it becomes very soft and smooth. It manages to be rich and tangy without turning into an overwhelmingly heavy appetizer.
This is what you need:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. Prep the baguette. Drizzle the sliced bread with olive oil and arrange on a sheet pan.
2. Toast the baguette on both sides until lightly golden. Then rub the slices with a garlic clove.
3. Make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in the skillet. Add the onions, sautéing until they are soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper.
4. Pour the diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar into the onions, garlic and spices. Simmer until the sauce is thickened.
5. Arrange the cheese and tomato mixture in the baking dish, alternating the sauce and goat cheese rounds.
6. Bake the dip until the cheese is golden and bubbling at the edges. Then switch the broiler on high, and brown the cheese for a minute or two.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with toasted garlic bread.
A spoon is the best way to serve the dip. What you will find when you start scooping around is that the cheese will fall apart in the tomatoes. It is so wonderful to have that mix of everything together.
You can make the tomatoes a couple days in advance. Just store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Then it is simple to assemble and bake the dip while your guests are already at your house.
Of course you can rewarm it in the oven and serve it as dip again. But also repurpose the tomatoes and cheese as pasta sauce!
Feta pasta was all the rage on TikTok a while ago. And you can think of this as the goat cheese version. All you have to do is stir the rewarmed tomatoes and goat cheese into hot pasta.
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No. Since it is a fresh cheese and has more moisture, it does not melt. When you warm it, goat cheese will mostly keep its shape and turn soft and smooth on the inside.
Nestled snugly in a dish with chunky tomato sauce, the sliced goat cheese bakes for 20-25 minutes. This gives the cheese time to become golden.
The only way to really brown the cheese is to give it 1-2 minutes under the broiler. Just watch it carefully, so the cheese does not burn because a broiler on high is hot!
I hope you love this goat cheese appetizer as much as I do. Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!
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