the appetizer:

Irish cuisine historically featured potatoes, beer, cabbage, beer, kale, beer, stews, heavy breads, and other hearty foods to complement Ireland's northern climate. But cooks in Ireland now fuse traditional cuisine with contemporary cooking styles.

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Crunchy Blue Cheese Bread Croutons

1/3 cup melted butter
1 loaf stale, hearty bread, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 bottle (12 ounces) ale (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale)
1 cup crumbled Stilton or other blue cheese
Fresh cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with the melted butter, reserving most of it for later. Place the cubes in a large bowl and lightly moisten them with the ale, stirring with a large spoon or your hands. Spread them on the baking sheet and press the crumbled cheese on top of each one. Drizzle with the remaining butter and sprinkle with cracked pepper to taste. Bake for 10—15 minutes, until crunchy.

We adapted this recipe from one appearing in Real Beer and Good Eats by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly. The original recipe used a technique that proved tasty but difficult, calling for 1/2-inch cubes to be rolled in the crumbled cheese. While this might be appropriate for a hard grated cheese like Parmesan, the soft, moist Stilton resisted adhering to the cubes. Hence we came up with this method which works more easily. —Global Gourmet


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This page modified January 2007