I travel pretty regularly to Hamburg, and on a recent visit we were taken by a business acquaintance to a marvellously un-businessy sort of place for dinner. I don’t know if the place (I hesitate to call it a restaurant exactly because it is so unlike a run-of-the-mill sort of eatery) was chose bearing our appreciation of old buildings, or for some other reason, but as a building, especially in Hamburg, the Röperhof is truly exceptional. It’s an old farmhouse, built in 1759, complete with a cottage garden where, in the summer, you can enjoy a hearty brunch, or an indulgent cake.
I was there for dinner however. The whole meal, created by chef, Christian Rindfleisch, was a triumph. But the starter was elegantly simple and easy to replicate.
Recipe for frothy white goat cheese, rolled in crispy breadcrumbs, with red grapes
- 150g/5 oz good, white goat cheese – I use Beau Farm for this
- 1-2 tbsps double cream
- 2 tbsps pine nuts
- 1 small slice of sourdough bread
- olive oil for frying
- 8-10 seedless red grapes
- small bag (60g/2 oz) rocket, or similar salad leaves
- 2 tbsps walnut oil
- 1 tbsp thick balsamic vinegar
- textured salt (Maldon is good) and pepper, or some mild pepper flakes (Urfa ideally)
- Take the rind off the goat cheese, put it in a small bowl, and loosen it with the cream. It should still be firm enough to be able to form it into a couple of balls, but not so loose that it becomes liquid.
- Dry fry the pine nuts.
- Fry the sourdough slice in hot olive oil until crispy and golden.
- Cut the fried bread into rough breadcrumbs. I usually do this with a breadknife, but you can use a blender, or grinder if you like. Don’t grind them too fine though.
- Get some olive oil good and hot in the same pan and refry the breadcrumbs to give them a bit of additional crunch.
- Cut the grapes lengthways into quarters.
- Put a couple of handfuls of rocket onto each plate. Dress each with a tablespoon of walnut oil and a couple of teaspoons of thick balsamic. Season with some textured salt and mild pepper flakes.
- Divide the cheese into two, and roll into balls, and then in the fried breadcrumbs to coat.
- Place atop the bed of dressed leaves and sprinkle around the pine nuts and grapes.
This post is dedicated to Thomas Kaiser, with thanks.