Chef Francis Mallmann prepares this first-course dish on a chapa (griddle) placed over a hot fire; a large flat-bottomed skillet would also work. He cooks goat cheese on one side only, until it develops a delectable brown crust. Then he places the warm cheese on toasts and tops them with spicy olives.
Ten 1-inch-thick slices of peasant bread, cut from a long loaf
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the griddle
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped oregano, plus oregano leaves for garnish
One 9-ounce log fresh goat cheese, cut into 10 slices
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Light a grill or preheat the oven to 400°. Toast the bread on a rack over moderately high heat for 3 minutes or on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes.
Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over a moderate fire or moderately low heat on the stove. In a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup of oil with the olives, red pepper and chopped oregano. Lightly oil the griddle. Add the cheese slices and cook until browned and crusty on the bottom, about 45 seconds over the fire or about 3 minutes on the stove.
Place the toasts on plates and carefully set the goat cheese on top, browned side up. Spoon the marinated olives over the cheese, sprinkle with salt and the oregano leaves and serve.