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Is there anything better than cheese? Perhaps. But the list is surely a short one. In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen, released late last year by the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, features recipes and anecdotes from such chefs as Michel Richard and Mireille Guiliano, authors of French Women Don’t Get Fat, Dan Barber of Blue Hill, and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. The latter shares his recipe for Goat Cheese Parfait, which combines creamy chevre, tart apples, and sweet potato.
“I like this recipe because it’s not too difficult — yet, it elevates the beautiful goat cheese and is a great mix with the apple and sweet potato,” says Ripert of the dish.
Goat Cheese Parfait
3 medium apples
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground white pepper, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
10 oz chevre, plain
6 oz creme fraiche
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tbsp)
1 tbsp chives, sliced
Creme Fraiche Sauce Ingredients:
4 oz creme fraiche
1 tbsp shallots, minced
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp chives, sliced
2 tsp lemon juice
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup celery leaves
2 tbsp black olives, diced
1 tbsp lemon, diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup celery, sliced on an angle about 1/4 inch long
* Special equipment needed: 6 ring molds, 2 inches in diameter by 3 inches high
Season the apples and sweet potatoes with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Individually wrap the sweet potatoes and apples in aluminum foil, and place them in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F. The apples will be tender in about 20 minutes, and the sweet potatoes will need about 35-40 minutes of cooking time. Once they are tender, remove them from the foil, and let cool. When the apples and sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and dice them into 1/4-inch pieces. Set them aside.
While the apples and sweet potatoes are cooling, combine the chevre and creme fraiche in a bowl, mixing well. Stir in the shallot and chives. Season with salt and pepper, and place the mixture in the refrigerator.
For the creme fraiche sauce, combine the creme fraiche, shallot, parsley, chives, and lemon juice in a stainless-steel mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Before serving, remove the chevre mixture from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Place a ring mold in the center of each plate and spread 1 tablespoon of the chevre mixture in the bottom. Top the chevre with the diced sweet potato, then add another dollop of chevre, then the diced apple, another dollop of chevre, then the diced sweet potato. Finish with a layer of chevre.
In a salad bowl, toss the celery leaves, slices of celery, black olives, and lemon together. Drizzle with lemon juice and lemon oil, and season with salt and pepper. Top each parfait with a bit of the celery salad, and then remove the mold. Place the parfait in the middle of a plate, and drizzle the creme fraiche sauce around the plate. Garnish with celery, and serve immediately.