I had a lot of fun last time we did a full menu; Pear and Blue Cheese Purses, Sweet Fennel Scallops, and Chipotle Ginger Chocolate Cake, so I thought we would do that again. Over the next few weeks, I will post a three course meal and tips on how to prepare the entire thing smoothly. The first item is a delicious Spiced Nuts and Cheese Plate. This makes a great first course since you can prepare it ahead of time and it’s best at room temperature. It is also possible (and very common) to just add some fruit and make this a nice dessert.
As you make a plate of your own, feel free to add other cheeses and little snacks to the plate. If you want to add more cheese, I find it works well to work on a theme. You might try three different goats’ milk cheeses, or a hard, soft and semi-soft cheese. Different flavors and textures make a really nice cheese plate. For the added snacks, fruit such as grapes and berries are excellent, or for a salty taste add some charcuterie (salami, prosciutto, or the likes). All of that said, if you are just making the plate for two, these sweet salty walnuts and the sharp manchego cheese is more than enough.
1 small loaf of bread, sliced
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp chili flakes or powder
1 wedge of manchego cheese
1 Tbsp honey
1) Toast the bread, if desired.
2) Toss the walnuts in the sugar, salt and chili.
3) In a sauté pan or in a 350 degree oven, toast the walnuts until the sugar caramelizes. Don’t let them burn.
4) Remove the nuts from the pan and let them cool (they will burn if left in the pan).
5) Just before serving, drizzle the nuts with honey.
6) Plate the nuts, cheese and toast.
7) Serve and enjoy!