Nothing could be simpler than coating a few rounds of cheese with a spicy tomato sauce. This Piedmontese classic, sometimes called tomini elettrici, or "electric cheese," will certainly stimulate your appetite. A tomino is a soft fresh cheese that is often made from cow's milk, but can be made from goat's milk or a combination of the two. Although this recipe calls for caprino, or a small fresh goat cheese, you may use any fresh cheese that you find at your market. Serve with slices of warm toast or grilled bread. Any extra sauce can be refrigerated and later served as an accompaniment to cooked beef or boiled or roasted chicken.
For the sauce
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups peeled, seeded, and finely chopped plum tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1/2 cup tomato purée
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Sugar, if needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 rounds fresh goat cheese, each 2 or 3 ounces
A few handfuls of salad greens dressed with extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
Toasted or grilled bread slices
To make the sauce, in a small saucepan, heat the red pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for a few minutes longer, so that the pepper flavor infuses the oil. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, vinegar, and a little sugar for balance if the sauce seems too tart, place the pan over low heat, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and let cool completely. Taste again and adjust the seasoning.
Arrange the goat cheese rounds on salad plates and spoon the sauce evenly over the cheeses. For a contemporary touch, garnish the plates with some greens, if desired. Serve the bread on the side.
WINE: Red wine is best here because of the forthright sauce. Try one from the Piedmont, such a juicy Dolcetto or a Nebbiolo d'Alba. A dry spumante would complement the sauce and cheese, too.
Fabulous Appetizers and Small Plates
by Joyce Goldstein
Photographs by Paolo Nobile
168 pages; Paperback; $19.95
35 color photographs
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created July 2006
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