I don’t really even know what to call these, and I’ll be the first to admit that is one sloppy plate. I was just hell-bent on trying out an idea, and since we have a new baby and aren’t getting much sleep, sometimes all I can do is to try and make an approximation and file it away for later.
Disclaimers aside, this was pretty darn tasty. I got the idea from an episode of Iron Chef America, Battle Brain Freeze (which was really Battle Melon). I believe it was Flay’s side (not Garces) that set some goat cheese with agar, then laid it in a rectangular mold with a piece of melon in the center, and sliced it into cubes.
I wanted to do something similar, but with figs. I didn’t have a mold that was going to work well, so I just set the cheese into a ramekin, and used an apple corer to cut out circles of both it and the figs. Then I cut the remaining skin off of the fig cylinders. The figs take on an interesting alien look when cut this way! I want to do something else with that.
The rest of the plate is just some blackberry honey and balsamico tradizionale, plus a few microgreens which I could have at least taken the time to strew prettily!
By the way, Laura Chenel chevre is my favorite widely available brand. Creamy and tangy, with a thorough but not overwhelming goatiness.
I won’t write out a whole recipe, but here’s how to set the goat cheese – which could be a useful trick for other similar dairy products. Agar has to come to a boil to set, but if you boil the cheese, it will curdle. Yuck. So what you do is bring 1/8 teaspoon of pure agar powder (not the sweetened stuff) to a boil with 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan. Stir thoroughly. Dump out about half the contents (that is just the smallest amount practical to work with), turn off the heat, then whisk in 100 grams of goat cheese. If it isn’t fully melted, put back over the lowest possible flame. As soon as it is melted, pour into a mold and refrigerate. It should set up as soon as it is chilled.