Radio personality and gourmet chef Rob Carson is bringing a fresh look and taste to appetizers with what he calls the Carson’s Goat Cheese Tomato Thingy on Cucumber Slices. This isn’t something obvious, but don’t be afraid: it’s delicious and will have friends and family clamoring for more.
The ingredients begin with—you guessed it—goat cheese. Start with a simple log of goat cheese. You’ll also need some sun-dried tomatoes chopped very finely in olive oil, some rich garlic, a Japanese cucumber, and some salt and pepper.
In terms of tools, assemble a good sharp chef’s knife, a spoon, a spatula and a plastic freezer bag.
Take the goat cheese log and place it in the microwave oven for about 30-45 seconds, just long enough to soften it a little. You don’t want it hot and you don’t want it too soft.
Carson’s not a great believer in precise measurements. He emphasizes mostly what looks and tastes good. In this case, he’s talking about 12 oz goat cheese. And he’s talking about 1/3 c. to ½ c. of sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped. You can buy them whole or chopped in a specialty food shop. Carson is adding some olive oil to the tomatoes and puréeing them together; don’t use a food processor, just the spoon you’d normally use for mixing ingredients.
Add in about 1 T. to 1 ½ T. finely chopped garlic and 1 T. coarse sea salt—goat cheese tends to be a little salty anyway so you don’t want to overpower it. Add 1 t. fresh cracked pepper and the goat cheese, and mix it all together. You’ll get some nice colors in there.
Stir it thoroughly so the color spreads throughout. Now, most people would spoon this mixture onto crackers or sliced bread, or they might serve it as a dip, but Carson says that presentation is everything. He’s using cucumber slices instead of bread or crackers. The cucumber balances out the cheese in terms of fat content, it doesn’t add carbs, and there’s a coolness factor that you don’t get with more traditional choices (both literally and figuratively).
Slice the cucumber reasonably thinly: it needs to be thick enough to serve as a base for your mixture but not so thick as to be overwhelming and difficult to eat.
Lay the cucumber slices out on the serving platter. Take the cheese mixture and put it into the freezer bag (a pastry bag works just as well, but you can recycle the freezer bag when you’re done).
Close the freezer bag with the cheese mixture inside, twist it, and snip off the end, and now you have a perfectly good temporary pastry bag. Now go around and squeeze a uniform amount of the goat cheese mixture onto each of the cucumber slices.
This is a great party appetizer as it’s quick to prepare but really striking, both in appearance and taste. Experiment with squeezing it out so that it’s attractive (Carson suggests trying to make it look like an ice-cream cone) and once you have the knack, you’ll be able to cut your prep time down and enjoy your time with your guests.