Show off the charms of fresh, milky chèvre by giving it an exciting, herby olive oil infusion. This recipe is best enjoyed simply on a crusty baguette (make sure you drizzle on extra flavorful oil). It also is a lovely addition to a simple green salad with fresh herbs, as the marinade acts as the salad dressing. Olive oil infuses nicely with many different aromatic herbs and spices, allowing for lots of create flavor combinations. This version uses lemon and earthy Urfa chilis. Other combinations could include garlic, fennel seeds, sun dried tomatoes or oregano, basil, and orange zest. So many possibilities for you to explore, dear creative cooks!
Wide mouth 8 oz jar with tight fitting lid
One 6 ounce log fresh goat cheese (aka chèvre), very cold
Two long pieces lemon peel (like a lemon twist you’d put in a cocktail)
4 sprigs of fresh Thyme
2 bay leaf, broken into 6 pieces
10 Whole black peppercorns
Pinch of Urfa chili flakes (such as Villa Jerada Urfa Biber)
Pinch of sea salt
1-2 cups high quality extra virgin olive oil, as needed to cover the chèvre.
Prepare the chèvre by rolling very cold cheese into ½ inch balls. Alternatively, you can cut the cheese into coins by using a piece of plain (not mint) dental floss. The key is to keep the cheese cold so it doesn't fall apart or get too messy.
Place the cheese in a wide mouth 8 oz jar.
Add enough olive oil to cover cheese completely. Add lemon zest, thyme, bay leaves, Urfa chili and black peppercorns.
Cover and marinate cheese in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (2 days is best though for maximum flavor!). Bring to room temperature before serving. The marinated goat cheese can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week, but not any longer than that (infused olive oil can run the risk of botulism if kept for longer than 1 week, even if refrigerated).