Sunday, January 07, 2007

Broiled Goat Cheese with Pumpkin Seed Sauce

3/4 cup hulled pepitas
1 cup tomatillos
1/2 bunch epazote
1/4 bunch cilantro, stemmed
1/4 bunch parsley, stemmed
3 cloves garlic
1/2 jalapeno chile
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons oil
1 pound goat cheese
tortilla chips

To prepare the sauce, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pepitas on a baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until evenly browned. Soak the tomatillos in cold water for a few minutes, the peel off and discard the husks. Place the pepitas, tomatillos, epazote, cilantro, parsley, garlic, jalapeno, and salt in a blender.

Add 1 cup of the broth and blend on high speed until a slightly lumpy puree is achieved. Thin with another cup of broth if necessary to fully blend, but try to use as little broth as possible (hs note: 1 cup was fine to this point)

Place a large straight-sided skillet or frying pan over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the sauce, stirring to prevent spattering. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring frequently and adjusting the consistency with broth when it gets thick and starts to spatter (hs note: I only ended up cooking it down for 30 minutes, and used another 1/2 cup or so of water). Check and adjust the seasoning with salt as necessary. Keep hot if using right away, or transfer to a container to cool. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate the goat cheese into 4 portions, and form each into a 1-inch-thick patty (this thickness allows the patties to bake quickly and evenly). Place the patties in individual 4-inch ramekins and bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese softens but still holds its shape. Carefully remove from the oven and ladle with the sauce over the cheese in a 1/2-inch layer. Serve immediately with the tortilla chips.

Serves 4 for lunch or 8 as an appetizer.