I was recently flipping through cookbooks looking for some appetizer ideas and came across a recipe for mâche with warm Brie and apples in Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, and I realized that it had been a very long time since I'd had mâche or made baked Brie. That was just the push I needed to add some baked Brie to the menu. Since the recipe was for a plated salad course and I wanted more of a shareable appetizer, I made some changes.
I decided to bake a wheel of Brie and serve it with baguette slices, as is typical. I figured we could spread the Brie on the bread slices and top it with rosettes of mâche to balance some of the richness. I always like nuts and dried fruit with Brie, so I opted for some toasted sliced almonds and dried cherries. Then I wanted to dress the mâche with some complementary flavors, so I rummaged through my vinegar and oil collection until I came up with a dressing that used Cabernet vinegar and blood orange olive oil. Not wanting the orange flavor to overwhelm the dressing, I cut it with a little unflavored extra-virgin olive oil. Some minced shallot sounded perfect for adding more flavor, and I knew a little freshly grated orange zest would make for a colorful garnish.
I loved the way the dish came together in my head (and scribbled all over a sticky note), but it didn't just work on paper; the dish came out wonderfully too. It was rich and indulgent, yet had lightness and freshness at the same time. It was definitely a crowd-pleaser and a great party dish. Oh, and it's really simple to make too.
Baked Brie With Toasted Almonds, Dried Cherries, And Mâche
Baked Brie gets topped with toasted almonds and dried cherries and served with a
mâche salad for an easy and tasty appetizer.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
1 French baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick on bias
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon orange-flavored extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Kosher salt and pepper
1 (7- to 8-ounce) wheel of Brie
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
3.5 ounces mâche rosettes
2 teaspoons orange zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baguette slices on sheet pan and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until crisp. Set bread slices on large platter.
Combine olive oil, vinegar, orange olive oil, and shallot in salad dressing container or jar and mix or shake until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Using a sharp knife, cut around the top of the Brie. (I learned this trick from Jen.) Place the Brie in a small baking dish, and bake for about 10 minutes, until warmed through and gooey. Set the baking dish on the serving platter with the bread (I put mine on a small trivet just to be safe). Carefully pull the top rind off the Brie.
Mix the almonds and cherries together and sprinkle about half of the mixture over the Brie.
Toss the mâche with the dressing and arrange it on the platter with the bread. (You can do this while the Brie is baking.) Sprinkle the remaining almonds and cherries over the mâche. Garnish with orange zest.
Set out the platter with some spreading knives for the Brie and salad forks for the mâche. The mâche can be eaten on the side or used to top slices of bread smeared with gooey, warm Brie.
What are your favorite things to pair with baked Brie?