This is a simple make-ahead recipe, ideal for summer entertaining. The longer the cheese refrigerates, the more flavor it absorbs from the herbs. You can leave it to marinate for up to two days. For optimal flavor, let the goat cheese stand at room temperature about 10 minutes before serving.
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3-ounce) package goat cheese
1 (8-ounce) French baguette, cut into 16 slices, toasted
How to Make It
Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Coat cheese evenly with basil mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve cheese with baguette slices.
Wine note: This menu boasts bright, acidic flavors and fresh herbs in both the Herbed Goat Cheese and the Lemon-Parsley Pesto, so you'll want a high-acid white that won't go flat against these zippy flavors. Try a Vermentino, made from an Italian grape of the same name found in Liguria and Tuscany. Campo al Mare Vermentino 2005 ($17) has melon and peach flavors delicate enough for goat cheese with an herbal, sagelike edge of its own. --Jeffery Lindenmuth