Walnut-marinated goat cheese
Just add bubbly: Mix-and-match recipes you can make ahead for an elegant holiday cocktail party.
Walnut-Marinated Goat Cheese Makes about 3/4 pound
1 tablespoon grape seed or safflower oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
2/3cup walnut oil, or more or less, as necessary
1 11-ounce log plain goat cheese, chilled and sliced into 3/8-inch rounds
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
In a small skillet over medium-low heat, heat the grape seed or safflower oil until warm. Add the shallots and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 2 minutes. Off heat, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, stir to mix, and cool to room temperature. Add the walnut oil and stir to mix well. In a wide-mouth 1-pint Mason jar (or similarly proportioned jar), place a couple of tablespoons of the oil mixture and tilt to coat the bottom.
Pack the jar, alternating layers of goat cheese pieces (sprinkle each layer lightly with salt and pepper) with walnuts and the shallots-and-thyme mixture from the skillet. Slowly pour in the walnut oil to cover the cheese and seasonings. Tightly seal the jar and shake it. Refrigerate for at least 3 days and up to 4 weeks, shaking the jar once every day or so to redistribute the oil and seasonings.
To serve, bring the cheese almost to room temperature and transfer it to a serving dish with most of the walnuts and just a bit of the oil.
MAKE AHEAD: 3 days up to 4 weeks before your party (store in the refrigerator). Serve very slightly chilled.
Adam Ried writes the Globe Magazine’s Cooking column. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.