Although this torta is from Provence, its superb taste suggests a Moroccan influence. Choose a mild to mature chèvre, depending on your taste. If goat cheese isn’t to your liking, you can substitute feta or a mild blue cheese. The crisp texture of the green and red peppers contrasts delightfully with the smooth spiced cheese.
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 11 ounces goat cheese
• 4 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
• 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
• 2 teaspoons cumin seed
• 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• Dash cayenne pepper
• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1 green pepper, chopped
• 1 red pepper, chopped (plus top for garnish)
• Lettuce leaves for garnish
• Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
Sauté the onion in butter until soft. Place all ingredients except peppers and garnishes in a food processor or mixing bowl and blend thoroughly. Line a 3- to 4-cup mold with a double thickness of cheesecloth. Place the red pepper top upside down in the bottom of the mold and sprinkle chopped red and green pepper bits around it. Cover with half the cheese mixture and level the mixture with a spoon. Sprinkle on the remaining pepper bits and add the remaining layer of cheese. Fold the cheesecloth over the top and press it slightly to firm in place. Let the mold set overnight in the refrigerator.
To unmold, fold back the top of the cheesecloth. Invert a serving plate on top of the mold and flip them over together. Lift off the mold and carefully remove the cheesecloth. Garnish the torta with lettuce leaves and fresh cilantro.
Mary Herrick is The Jazz Cook of Fort Collins, Colorado, a food writer, and the owner of an event planning and catering business.
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