goat cheese salted apple leaf oats

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goat cheese salted apple leaf oatsWe gather the young apple leaves from the trees in the garden at the Napa Valley Reserve and jar them in a salt brine, mimicking the traditional Japanese sakura, or salted cherry leaves. We then wrap the salted leaves around disks of fresh goat’s milk cheese. The resulting flavor is complex, with the apple flavor from the leaves imparted in a discernible yet ephemeral way. We serve the cheese with oat butter, bitter greens, and a scattering of dried apples.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 50 | apple leaves
  • 1 kilogram | 4 ½ cups water
  • 100 grams | ⅓ cup kosher salt
  • 510 grams | 1 pound, 2 ounces fresh goat’s milk cheese
  • 4 grams | 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid
  • 4 .5 kilograms | about 4 ½ quarts water
  • 2 | Gala apples
  • 1 kilogram | 4 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 440 grams | 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 12 grams | 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 120 grams | 2 cups steel-cut oats
  • 169 grams | 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 450 grams | 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
How to Make It
  1. FOR THE GOAT’S MILK CHEESE PREPARATION: Soak the apple leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Combine the water and salt in a stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the leaves, turn down the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes, until slightly tender. Remove from the heat and let cool in the brine to room temperature. Transfer the leaves and brine to a plastic container and refrigerate for 24 hours before using. For long preservation, pack the leaves in glass jars, add the brine to cover, cap tightly, and store in a cool, dark place.
  2. Shape the cheese into a small wheel about 4 inches (10 centimeters) in diameter. Remove about 15 apple leaves from the brine, pat dry with paper towels, and arrange in a star pattern on a work surface, with the stems pointing away from the center of the star. Dip the cheese wheel in some of the apple leaf brine for 3 minutes. Place the cheese wheel in the center of the leaf star pattern. Cut off the stems of the leaves, then wrap the exposed portion of the leaves around the cheese wheel, covering the cheese completely and securing the ends by lightly pressing them into the cheese. Place on a wire rack and refrigerate for at least 1 week before serving.
  3. FOR THE DRIED APPLES: In a large bowl, dissolve the ascorbic acid in 4 kilograms (4 quarts) of the water. Peel the apples, cut into medium dice, and immerse in the acidulated water to avoid oxidation. Combine the sugar and the remaining 500 grams (about 2 cups) of water in a shallow saucepan and warm over low heat just until the sugar melts, then transfer to a pressure cooker. Drain the apples, add to the pressure cooker, and cook on low pressure for 15 minutes. Let the apples cool in the liquid to room temperature. Line a dehydrator tray with a silicone baking mat. Drain the apple pieces from the syrup and arrange on the mat-lined tray in a single layer. Dehydrate for 16 hours at 100°F (38°C), until dry on the outside and chewy on the inside. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry area until needed.
  4. FOR THE OAT BUTTER: Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Combine the sugar, salt, oats, flour, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for about 3 minutes, just until the butter is fully incorporated into the dry ingredients. Press the mixture into a 12 ½ by 7-inch (31.5 by 18-centimeter) baking pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Transfer the cooled oat mixture to a food processor and mix for 4 minutes, until a smooth paste forms. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  6. FOR THE MARINATED ENDIVE: Prepare an ice bath. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the brown sugar and stir aggressively to avoid burning. Once the sugar has liquefied, after about 15 seconds, add the vinegars. When the sugar has dissolved and is well mixed with the vinegars, strain the mixture through a chinois into a heatpoof bowl, then nest the bowl in the ice bath to cool the liquid.
  7. Cut the endive bulbs in half lengthwise and arrange in a vacuum bag. Pour the vinegar mixture over the endives and seal the bag on high. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Open the bag, remove the endives, and drain the vinegar mixture into a shallow bowl. Cut the endives into diagonal squares, removing the core. Submerge the pieces in the vinegar mixture.
  8. TO SERVE: Place a few dots of the oat butter on a plate. Scatter some dried apple pieces next to the oat butter and arrange some marinated endive pieces around the other components. Garnish with the Treviso and curly endive leaves. Set the cheese wheel next to the composition, with the leaves slightly opened, exposing the cheese.

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