Baked cheese with herb pesto

Baked cheese with herb pesto
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon 20 minutes to make, 15-25 minutes to cook

An easy take on cheese fondue served with pesto. Perfect for sharing with friends.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
601kcals
Fat
34.2g (14.8g saturated)
Protein
26.6g
Carbohydrates
46g (3.6g sugars)
Fibre
4g
Salt
1.3g
Calories
601kcals
Fat
34.2g (14.8g saturated)
Protein
26.6g
Carbohydrates
46g (3.6g sugars)
Fibre
4g
Salt
1.3g

Ingredients

  • 250g soft-rind cheese in a box, at room temperature
  • 5 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dry white wine
  • 500g small new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 small rustic loaf, such as ciabatta, sourdough or French stick
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 100g small gherkins
  • 75g thinly sliced air-dried ham, such as parma or serrano (optional)

For the herb pesto

  • 40g mixed young green leaves (such as watercress, spinach, wild garlic, dandelion and rocket), large stalks removed
  • 10g fresh basil leaves
  • 10g mixed fresh young herb leaves (such as flatleaf parsley, thyme or lemon thyme and sage)
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 15g parmesan, finely grated

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Take the cheese out of its box and remove the paper, then put 2 of the bay leaves into the base of the box. Rub the outside of the cheese with ½ tsp of the wine, then put it back into the box. Pierce the top of the cheese 3-4 times with a fine skewer, then drizzle over another ½ tsp of the wine. Tuck the remaining bay leaves down the sides of the cheese, then replace the lid. Wrap the box in foil, then bake on a baking sheet for 15-25 minutes until the cheese is liquid inside and almost erupting from its rind.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes until tender.
  3. To make the herb pesto, put the green leaves and herbs into a food processor with the crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Blend to a slightly coarse paste, then scoop it into a bowl and stir in the parmesan with a little more seasoning to taste.
  4. Thinly slice the bread, then toast on both sides. Lightly rub with the halved garlic clove, then spread with a little of the pesto.
  5. Remove the foil and lid from the cheese. Push back the rind with a fork, then drizzle the remaining 1 tsp wine over the cheese with a grinding of black pepper. Serve drizzled over the pesto toasts,or as a fondue with the remaining pesto and the potatoes, pesto toasts, cornichons and air-dried ham for dipping.

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