This week was really the first week of our putting hubby's cunning plan into action. He made us the Porcini Risotto last week, but the cunning plan was really only in it's infancy then.
This week, however, we put it fully into action - with surprising results.
Baking a complete Camembert in its box is something that we have both seen done on the t.v. and have both looked at one another and said "Ooooooooh" in that "we have just GOT to do that, one day" kind of way.
So when we were pondering over what to have on Pizza Night and hubby had the blinding flash of memory regarding it, needless to say we didn't bother to look any further.
Son & heir has, in the past, proven to be sensitive (I hesitate to say "allergic") to cheeses that have involved the Penicillium bacterias that are used in their formation - of which Camembert is one. Rather than keep him away from such cheeses, I have consistently allowed him to have just a little of each one that has come our way, in the hope that steady, gentle exposure to the bacteria will increase his resistance to them. It certainly seems to have worked, as he can now eat Brie without looking like an octopus has had him in its fond embrace.
As a result, I knew that Son & heir would be interested in our cheese, once he saw it - all baked and luscious. Prior to that event he was dismissive of it as only a young teenager can be.
However, when hubby and I sat down to tuck into our cheese - dipping into the beautiful liquid centre with our griddled asparagus (asparagus is one of Son & heir's weaknesses) and almost weeping over how lovely the whole experience was, he just couldn't bear it. Over he came, with a piece of his pizza crust clutched in his hot little hand, to have a taste. Hubby put a seal on the deal by giving him a piece of asparagus to try with the cheese. Of course, then we had to suffer being given the evils from him for the rest of the meal, but hey - I was too busy trying not to cry over how incredible the cheese was.
So - on to the cheese itself. We used President Camembert basically because there were only two in the shop and we know President Camembert is nice. We did consider poking bits of garlic and rosemary into the cheese, but decided against it because - as this was our first go at it - we wanted to enjoy the full flavour of the cheese, without any adulteration from any outside influence.
Where making a dinner is concerned, it truly doesn't get any easier than this. Simply remove the cheese from its wrapper, pop it back into its little wooden box, drizzle with olive oil and into a moderate oven for 30 minutes.
While it is baking, assemble a selection of things to eat with it - we had French bread, olives and three types of tomato along with the griddled asparagus. However, to be honest, I could easily have had nothing but asparagus and bread. Don't be tempted to butter the bread, as the cheese is quite enough both in the fat and flavour departments. I can imagine that a drizzle of olive oil, a rub with some garlic and toasted on the griddle pan would have made the bread completely awesome - and I'll definitely do that if ever we get the opportunity to do this again.
Like the New Potato, Bacon & Goat's Cheese salad that I made a week or so ago, this is one of those meals that has to be sampled. I am just SO glad I did!
23 April 2013 : We've just indulged in our second baked camembert supper - this time, including son & heir in on the lusciousness.
We skipped the asparagus this time, instead opting for one of Mark Bennett Patisserie's loaves of Mediterranean bread that had been cubed and toasted in the oven. Utter, utter gorgeousness when dipped into the melty soft warm cheese! For that extra bit of crunch, we had some sweet chilli pitta bread that had also been baked off in the oven and was deliciously crunchy. Together with some watercress salad - watercress, tomatoes, beetroot, celery and cucumber - you just couldn't fault it. I am proud to say that I ate all my cheese - inner and outer. Well, the outer rind is where all the flavour is! It fair breaks my heart to see hubby's and son & heir's being thrown away.
Son & heir was a little bit dubious about his cheese and cautiously dipped in a piece of pitta bread. Suffice to say, that it didn't take long after he'd suspiciously placed it onto his tongue, for him to be diving in for a second bite. I defy anyone to not like these baked camemberts - it's just not possible!
BAKED CAMEMBERT (for 1)
1 smallish whole Camembert, in its wooden box
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
French bread (baguettes work fine)
A selection of things to dip into the cheese.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180deg C/350deg F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Remove the plastic wrapping from the Camembert and replace it into its wooden box.
3. Drizzle olive oil over the surface (you can add slices of garlic, poked into the skin, along with sprigs of rosemary, if you like).
4. Place each cheese onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top of the cheese has domed.
5. In the meantime, griddle any vegetables you might want for dipping (asparagus, peppers, red onion, tomatoes - all are good) and prepare your bread.
6. Once the cheese is done, place onto a plate and get stuck in!