I’ve never met a cheese I don’t like – this much is certainly true…and Cypress Grove makes some of the best cheese I’ve ever had. Their Truffle Tremor is incredible – that funky, earthiness is something else. Lamb Chopper is a wonderful firmer cheese. All of their fresh chevre is top notch. So when I was asked to help develop a recipe using a cheese from the Cypress Grove portfolio, I was totally thrilled – a great excuse to experiment with a really amazing product.
Despite being a bit shell-shocked from a particularly wacky sandwich photo shoot, I must have had paninis on the brain because as soon as I saw a giant wedge of Humboldt Fog, I had visions of gooey, goat cheesy goodness between slices of bread. Trying to think of a foil for the pungent but soft cheese, my mind went immediately to roasted fruit. Grapes have the same sweet/tart quality as preserves or compote in sandwiches but with a bit more wow factor. Some quick roasted grapes – right off the vine – smooshed into a panini with slabs of Humboldt Fog were amazing – trust me. You could do this with roasted cherries or some quick stewed berries but saying “roasted grapes” garnered some audible gasps when I mentioned it amongst friends. If you didn’t want to make such a big deal as getting out a panini press or your cast iron skillet, you could also do this in crostini form. Just toast the bread, slather on some Humboldt Fog and perch a tiny bunch of the roasted grapes on top. It would make for a killer presentation, as well.
Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese & Roasted Grape Panini – makes 4 sandwiches
– Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a shallow roasted pan or baking sheet, place the grapes – still on the vine – and drizzle with a tbsp. of olive oil. Roast until the skins of the grapes start to pucker – 20 minutes or so depending on your oven. Once you see signs of roasting, remove and allow to cool slightly so they can be handled.
– While the grapes are cooling, preheat your panini press or a cast iron skillet ( you don’t need grill marks to make this delicious). Brush your bread slices on the outer sides with a bit of olive oil – you can divide a tbsp. between the bread. Place 2 ounces of goat cheese on each of 4 slices of bread. Put a handful of grapes – 1o or 12 per sandwich (you may have some roasted grapes leftover) – on top of the goat cheese. Put the lid on the bread and place in your panini press for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and you see gooey cheese on the side. If you’re using the skillet method, grill on each side for 2-3 minutes until brown and crispy – you can put something on top of this as a makeshift panini press if you want the squished sandwich effect.