While vacationing in Arizona last week, Veto and Saucy enjoyed a delicious appetizer at one of their favourite restaurants. Saucy also enjoyed a couple of margaritas - the shaken kind, not the slushy frozen kind. It. Was. Awesome.
When they got home, Saucy decided to give that appetizer a try again. She had most of the ingredients, she just had to get her hands on some macadamia nuts. They weren't hard to find, even in the baking section of her local grocer.
They did however, look a little pale and sickly so she put them under the broiler for just a couple of minutes before they turned toasty and brown. She liberally sprinkled them with sea salt before toasting them, by the way. It was one of those fancy red salts... she can't tell the difference anyway.
Just beware... macadamia nuts toast up pretty quickly. They're oily little buggers.
She broke them down into crumbs using her trusty old food processor. It's so old... she won it at a staff party when she worked at the grocery store. She was a wide-eyed high school student who thought she had no need of this fancy new contraption, but she walked away with it.
She's used it well for over twenty five years. It just keeps going and going. It's not the fanciest piece of kitchen equipment but Saucy cares for it well, washing all of its pieces by hand. She loves that thing.
If anything ever happens to that old food processor, send help immediately. Saucy will be lost.
You can see here that the nuts aren't super-finely ground... they're sort of medium. Plus, being an oily type of nut and all, Saucy didn't want to make macadamia paste. This is the sum of one bag (250 g, about a half pound) of nuts having been salted, toasted and processed.
You could make this ahead and keep it on hand in your freezer for when the mood for an awesome appetizer strikes you.
It's not that hard to gently slice a log of goat cheese into pieces and then roll (sort of press, actually) them into the nut mixture. You can shape the slices into prettier rounds while you press the nuts into them. Place them in the fridge until you are almost ready to serve them.
Prepare a bed of mango salsa to serve them on: cubed mango, finely chopped red pepper and cilantro are all you need.
You need to make this sauce. It's one part sugar to two parts soy sauce (Saucy used a half cup sugar to one cup soy sauce and it still made too much) brought to a slow boil over medium heat and then reduced over low heat. You can make a vertical cut through a jalapeno pepper and drop it in the pan for extra zest. Remove the pepper before serving.
Before serving, lightly warm the cheese pieces in a pan with some clarified butter over medium heat. This is why you'll want to make sure the goat cheese is nice and cold - it gets soft quickly when you heat it and it can break apart easily. You'll have to use a gentle hand to flip over the cheese and then to place it on the bed of salsa.
Drizzle with the soy sauce reduction and serve with flatbread.
Oh, and margaritas. Or champagne. They both pair well. Saucy knows this for sure.