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Crostini with Herbed Chèvre and Kumquats

This unusual combination of soft goat cheese, called chèvre, and kumquats is surprisingly pleasing. The slightly tangy goat cheese pairs wonderfully with the bright, juicy citrus fruit. Rubbing the crostini with garlic adds extra flavor, but you can omit it if you prefer. Teleme or a smooth-spreading feta cheese is also delicious with the kumquats.

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette, cut on the diagonal into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  • 4 to 5 oz. chèvre (soft goat cheese), at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish (optional)
  • 20 to 25 kumquats, about 1 lb. total, halved, seeded and chopped

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Lay the baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and brush the tops lightly with the olive oil. Bake until the undersides are lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake until lightly golden on the other side, about 5 minutes more. Let cool, then rub the oiled side of the toasts with the cut sides of the garlic cloves.

In a bowl, using a fork, mash together the cheese and minced thyme.

Spread each toast with about 2 tsp. of the herbed goat cheese and top with some of the chopped kumquats. Garnish with thyme leaves and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cheese, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2010).