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Cheese-Fried Piquillo Toasts

Yield 4

Ingredients

  • Eight 1/3-inch-thick slices crusty Italian bread, crusts removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved
  • 1/4 cup mild goat cheese, softened
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ounces Manchego or Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 8 medium piquillo peppers

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange the bread on a large baking sheet, brush with olive oil and bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Rub the hot toasts with the garlic.

  2. In a small bowl, season the goat cheese with salt and pepper and mix until creamy. Spread a thin layer of the goat cheese over each toast.

  3. Spread the grated Manchego in a shallow bowl. Dredge the peppers in the cheese to generously coat. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the peppers over moderate heat, turning once with a spatula, until richly browned and crusty, about 2 minutes per side. Using a spatula, scrape the peppers from the pan, transfer to the toasts and serve.

  4. Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and stored overnight in an airtight container.

  5. Wine Recommendation: A light, refreshing sparkling white wine will highlight the smoky peppers and blend with the tangy goat cheese here. Choose a good Spanish Cava, such as the Nonvintage Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia Extra Brut, or an inexpensive Italian Prosecco, such as the nonvintage bottling from Zardetto.