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Herb goat cheese appy

An easy and impressive appy for your holiday entertaining. Photo: Gayle Wolf

Great West Newspapers office manager Gayle Wolf has a quick and impressive appy to wow your guests. It's ready in minutes--all the better!

Fresh Herb/Goat Cheese Appy

-1/2 to 2/3 cup of fresh basil and rosemary leaves - total combined, stems removed
-300 gram soft unripe goat cheese
-Freshly grated sea salt
-Cayenne pepper (optional)
-Garlic powder (optional)
-Candied walnuts (see recipe, below)

Putting it together is a breeze:
Wash, dry and finely chop the fresh basil and rosemary leaves, set aside.
Cut a piece of plastic wrap (approx 10" wide and lay the goat cheese in the middle)
Using the plastic wrap and the back of a spoon, press the goat cheese until it’s in a rectangle shape, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Cover evenly with the herb mixture and press into the cheese to distribute.
Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder, freshly grated sea salt and cayenne pepper (if desired for a bit of a kick).
Using the plastic wrap, roll the cheese log back into shape.
Roll the cheese log in approx. 1/2 - 1 cup of candied walnuts to cover completely and serve with your favourite crackers (Raincoast Crisps are divine).
This cheese log improves in flavour and texture if served at room temperature (this recipe is easily halved or refrigerated for a few days or broken into chunks in a tossed green salad with nectarines and extra candied walnuts).

Candied Walnut recipe
-1 cup coursely chopped walnut pieces
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 Tbsp butter
-Pinch of sea salt and cayenne (if desired)
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add all the ingredients at once and give it a light sprinkle with salt (and cayenne) to bring out the flavours.
Stir frequently to avoid burning the mixture for 5 minutes.
You will notice the sugar begin to melt part way though, stir constantly until all the sugar has melted and covering the nuts.
Transfer to parchment paper and separate the mixture quickly to cool.
Use any excess on your favourite salad etc.