Cheese-Fried Piquillo Toasts
- SERVINGS: 4
- Eight 1/3-inch-thick slices crusty Italian bread, crusts removed
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 1 large garlic clove, halved
- 1/4 cup mild goat cheese, softened
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 ounces Manchego or Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
- 8 medium piquillo peppers
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange the bread on a large baking sheet, brush with olive oil and bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Rub the hot toasts with the garlic.
- In a small bowl, season the goat cheese with salt and pepper and mix until creamy. Spread a thin layer of the goat cheese over each toast.
- Spread the grated Manchego in a shallow bowl. Dredge the peppers in the cheese to generously coat. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the peppers over moderate heat, turning once with a spatula, until richly browned and crusty, about 2 minutes per side. Using a spatula, scrape the peppers from the pan, transfer to the toasts and serve.
Make Ahead The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and stored overnight in an airtight container. Notes Piquillos are sweet, slightly spicy and smoky Spanish peppers that are slow-roasted over an open fire. Piquillos are sold in jars and cans at specialty food shops.
A light, refreshing sparkling white wine will highlight the smoky peppers and blend with the tangy goat cheese here. Choose a good Spanish Cava or an inexpensive Italian Prosecco.