With Red Pepper Tomato Sauce
One of my favorite Las Vegas restaurants is called Mon Ami Gabi and this dish is one of the reasons it tops my list. I first had this amazing appetizer in 2005 and every time I have ended up in Sin City sine then, this is my go-to, as well as my go-to recommendation to friends that find themselves there! I made a promise to a group of friends on our last visit out there that I would go home and attempt to re-create this dish. So...without further adieu...this is my version of my favorite Las Vegas appetizer.
Ok....a little further adieu...
Now, don't let the fact that its "goat" cheese scare you off. I didn't think I would be a fan either, but the creamy sweet peppery flavor of the tomato sauce marries perfectly with the creamy tartness of the goat cheese to create this amazing dish that when paired with the perfect garlic bread, (oh, what's that below? The recipe for The Perfect Garlic Bread?) is like a French party in your mouth! So, if you are a fan of goat cheese you are in for a treat in trying a new recipe, and if you aren't a fan, or don't think you will be, step out of your comfort zone and give it a try....I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised and will fast become a fan of this creamy treat!
3/4 lb. goat cheese
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 jar fire roasted red peppers, liquid drained off
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
In a medium sauce pan combine: tomatoes, drained red peppers, cream, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as needed. Carefully pour sauce into a blender and starting on low, blend sauce until smooth. (You can use an immersion blender for this but I find that my Vitamix blender gives me a smoother consistency). Pour back into sauce pan and let simmer until you are ready to use it.
Turn the "Broil" feature on your oven on. Form goat cheese into a ball and place the ball in the center of a round casserole dish or deep pie plate. Place in oven and broil on high until the top of the cheese is "brûléed" meaning that it has caramelized to a dark golden brown. Remove from oven.
Immediately pour sauce around cheese so that the "brûléed" top o the cheese is still showing.
Making sure to do this immediately after removing the cheese from the oven ensures that the cheese does not begin to spread too much. Serve with the perfect garlic bread below.
The Perfect Garlic Bread
1 loaf French bread
garlic paste (you can buy a tube of this at Target near the fresh herbs)
salt and pepper
Cut the loaf of bread length-wise (Like Subway does!) Butter the entire loaf. Put a dime size dollop of garlic paste every 3 inches and spread evenly over the loaf. Add the desired amount of salt and pepper. Cut the loaf at an angle, making pieces that are about 2 inches wide (The rounded end pieces are extras! I put a little basil pesto on those and broil them for myself and the other chefs in the kitchen to snack on!) Arrange the garlic bread on a foil lined cookie sheet. Put in the oven and broil on low for 2-4 minutes, depending on your oven. Watch carefully and remove the bread when it reaches a medium golden brown and the edges are dark brown. If you find that your oven does not toast the bread to perfection by the 4 minute mark, you can use the broil feature on high.