I love small plates and little nibbles. I also love all things rich ( my men, my life, my food). One of the most most beautiful and richest cuisines out there is French. I look back at long ago my school years in Paris and wish I took advantage of the resources out there then. But I was young and Paris was my Movable Feast.
This past week was the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau. My old friend Terry treated me to the Annual Fete at the French American Chamber Of Commerce. This is an opportunity for many restaurants to display their food in the small plate format. One place was making grilled Camembert sandwiches on a hot plate. I took a bite and noticed the Camembert didn't melt through the grilled bread. Terry and I were talking about earlier and I had a revelation. I was going to make this dish with the duck fat I rendered that was in the freezer.
Forget butter, but use the duck fat for that extra dimension. I also decided to add mushed blanched garlic to create a Gascony style Butter. Before the health police start, did you know Duck Fat is better for you than butter? Duck Fat has less saturated fats than butter 32% versus 62%. Duck fat has higher Mono Saturated Fat than butter and is more comparable to Olive Oil (read about it here).
So when I received my Ile de France sample, I was ready. With the Holidays you want a quick easy recipe to assemble and that will keep warm with minimal fuss. Toasting in the oven , rather than frying works very well and insures the cheese is melted through.
Duck Fat and Garlic "Toasted" Camembert Mini Grilled Cheese
makes 12 and can be increased easily increased
24 slices of Baguette
1/2-3/4 cup Duck Fat (can be purchased )
5 cloves of Garlic ( or to taste)
Ile De France Camembert Cheese
Water to blanch garlic
In a small saucepan , blanch garlic cloves until tender( about 1 minute).
In a small mixing bowl mash the garlic into the duck fat. You can use a immersion blender or food processor to make smooth.
Take a pastry brush and brush each slice of Baguette.
Assemble small wedges of Camembert into two slices of bread.
Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with dried Thyme.
Bake at 350 F until golden, approx 15 minutes. Turn/flip sandwiches midway and press down with spatula to aid the cheese in melting. Turn up to 400 F the last few minutes to insure crispness and browning.
Serve on passed platters or on small plates with dressed greens.
*Can be kept in warming oven until ready to serve.