When it comes to appetizers, I plead guilty to several counts of merely unwrapping a cheese or two and plonking it on a plate with some crackers and a cheese knife. Not quite “voilà.” But sometimes, life is just too busy to spend an hour – or even thirty minutes – preparing an appetizer when cheese will do just as well.
Though it requires just barely more effort than the unwrap-and-plonk method, this marinated version looks and tastes much more impressive. Just toss thyme and olives in a pan with some olive oil for 5 minutes, add lemon juice, and pour the mixture over a cute three-inch round of goat cheese.
Spend the next 10 minutes either cutting up cucumber slices, arranging crackers, and doing last-minute cleanup, or enjoying a hostess-only, pre-party glass of light, crisp, almost bubbly Vinho Verde (Recommended: Opala for only $7 per pretty, summery bottle at Whole Foods).
Alternatively, if you’re a lucky applicant to the State Bar of California like me and The Exam You Desperately Need To Pass is less than two weeks away, you can spend that extra time flipping through constitutional law flashcards in a desperate attempt to learn the ins and outs of equal protection, privileges and immunities, and due process. But I can vouch that flashcards on a Friday night aren’t as fun as they sound.
In other words, go with the Vinho.
And just like that, my dinner your dinner party appetizer is ready. Voilà, indeed.
Goat Cheese Marinated with Thyme, Lemon Juice, and Kalamata Olives (adapted from somewhere, I’m sure, but I can’t find the source for the life of me)
4 oz. chèvre (soft goat cheese), room temperature
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 to 1/2 c. Kalamata olives
juice of 1 lemon
Place the round of room temperature goat cheese in serving bowl.
In a small pan over medium-low heat, add olive oil, thyme, and olives. Saute until thyme is fragrant, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and allow to cool for one minute.
Pour thyme marinade and olives over the goat cheese, and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve with cucumber slices or crackers.