Two Years Ago: Cuban Paella
As you know if you follow this blog, I recently discovered an easy way to remove pomegranate seeds (also called arils) from the fruit by cutting the pomegranate open and whacking it (cut side down) with a wooden spoon while holding it over a bowl. I was so happy about it that I immediately wanted to use pomegranate seeds in everything. I decided to create an appetizer that's a little special and festive enough for the holiday season but also very simple - just baguette, brie cheese, pomegranate seeds, and a balsamic vinegar reduction.
It's so easy I can't really even call it a recipe - you just simmer down a good quality balsamic vinegar, toast some baguette slices, and melt some Brie on top of the toasts. Drizzle with a little balsamic reduction and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and you're done! It would make a beautiful appetizer for a holiday get-together or cocktail party. Add a little green color to your serving platter by using parsley or even a few tiny spruce tips to make it look really special.
As you can see. my small baguette made 12 toasts. It's easy to make more but I would suggest using two small baguettes rather than one large one for ease of holding and eating the toasts. If you can only find a large baguette, you might want to cut each toast in half.
If you missed the link to a YouTube video showing how to remove the pomegranate seeds the first time I posted it, you can find it here. The guy does like to hear himself talk, but it's worth it to watch the technique.
If you have leftover balsamic reduction, don't throw it away, it's like liquid gold - use it drizzled over tomatoes, roast chicken, shards of parmesan cheese, or salads. Just keep it covered in the refrigerator - if it thickens too much, gently re-warm on the stove or in the microwave. It's delicious!
Brie & Pomegranate Toasts
Makes 12 toasts
Note: the amount of Brie needed will vary with the size of your baguette.
1 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 small baguette
¾ lb Brie cheese
Seeds of ½ pomegranate
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Additional parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400d.
Bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for approximately 10 minutes until reduced by one third, watching closely and stirring frequently so the vinegar doesn't burn. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, place the Brie cheese in the freezer for 10 minutes to make slicing easier. Slice the baguette into thin slices on the diagonal and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 3-4 minutes until lightly toasted, remove from the oven.
Remove the Brie from the freezer; remove the rind and cut cheese into thin slices. Place the cheese slices on the toasts and put back in the oven for a minute or two until the Brie starts to melt. Remove the toasts from the oven, drizzle with balsamic reduction, sprinkle with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds, and place on a platter with additional parsley for garnish.