Side Dish: Chow’s Baked Goat Cheese Casserole

Side Dish: Chow’s Baked Goat Cheese Casserole

One day in the late ’80s, while prepping in the kitchen at Tourelle (now Postino), the new chef split a seeded Semifreddi’s baguette lengthwise, slathered it with goat cheese, and threw it in a 500-plus degree oven. When he pulled it out after a few minutes, the bread was hot and crusty, and the goat cheese was fluffy and lightly browned. He cut the baguette on the diagonal into several pieces, and after a minute or two (hot goat cheese is like napalm), we devoured it. The result was so good that I’ll never forget it. Well, I did, actually, until a recent lunch at Chow in Danville. They serve a big ramekin of goat cheese baked with tomatoes and walnut bread toasts.

It made me wonder why dishes like this are rarely seen on menus today: Warm goat cheese salads were the rage in California cuisine’s early days for good reason.

Chow’s baked goat cheese was good, and I finished every bite. With the nutty toast points, it’s like a build-it-yourself bruschetta—a fun appetizer to share. Now that tomatoes are in their peak, it might even be better to serve chopped tomatoes on the side, and spoon it on top as you go.

If you can’t make it to Chow (it’s also on the menu in Lafayette), you can always try it at home, baked in a ramekin or slathered on a baguette.

See this featured article by Nicholas Boer on Diablo Magazine Here.

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