When I lived in Charleston, SC, I used to love an appetizer very similar to this one from a place called Southend Brewery. I would always order it for dinner and leave a very happy girl. When we were there in May for a wedding, I was thrilled when I found out that the rehearsal dinner was going to be at this restaurant. I was not so thrilled to see that they took this off of the menu. I mean really, did they not know that I loved it and was looking forward to it all day? So what do you do when you have a craving for something from a restaurant that is no longer on the menu? You Google it to see if the recipe exists. Sometimes, you get lucky and it will have been published somewhere. If not, then you try to recreate it.
Obviously the cheese and the roasted garlic are easy to replicate. I was at my local Whole Foods and the man at the cheese counter recommended a wheel of brie that I had never had before. It was delicious. It is a Triple Creme Brie from Woolwich Dairy. It is a goats milk brie and it is beyond rich and creamy. It is like butter, only better. If you cannot find it locally, you can buy it directly from Woolwich Farms. When I roast garlic, I roast a few heads at a time to keep in the fridge for other things. Roasting sweetens the garlic, it loses its pungent flavor while still tasting like garlic. It is one of my favorite things in the world slathered on a piece of rustic bread. Heaven.
The tomato chutney would be harder to replicate. For starters, I have not had this appetizer in years and I needed to come up with the recipe from memory. I had to go back and remember what I loved about it. I remembered it being chunky, with golden raisins, with a good balance of sweet and savory. It had seeds in it, like cumin seeds or coriander. I scoured the Interweb and took a few different recipes and combined them and came up with this version. I am very happy with it and it tasted as good as I remember.
What I love about this sort of appetizer (besides that it is centered around cheese. And cheese bearing similar name to my own.) is that you can make the components in advance and assemble it on a platter when you are ready to serve it. I think that this would be a perfect start to your Thanksgiving meal. I am not one to go crazy with appetizers on Thanksgiving. It is such a large and filling meal, that I do not want people filling up before they have even sat down. What I do want however is something to keep my guests busy while I finish the last minute things before dinner and keep them out of the kitchen. A simple cheese platter like this fits the bill nicely.
What you need:
crusty french bread
For the chutney:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot chopped
1 Tablespoon pickling spices
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 cup golden raisins
Saute the shallots in the the olive oil over medium heat until the they have softened. It would be easier to tie the spices in a piece of cheesecloth, but I did not have any around, so I came up with this idea. I put them in a tea strainer. It worked just fine if I do say myself. Add everything else to the saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Give a taste and check for seasoning and balance. You may need to add more or less vinegar, sugar, or salt.
Take the spices out and pour the chutney into a container and let cool. This will keep for about a month in the fridge. This is pretty perfect on a turkey sandwich.
Slice the tops of the heads of garlic and put them in an oven proof dish. Pour over some olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with tin foil and put in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. When the garlic is done, it will be golden brown and some of the cloves will start to pop out.
You can either serve the brie at room temperature like it is in the pictures, or you can warm it in the oven for a few minutes so that it is even more gooey and delicious.
Add some sliced bread.
Smear some brie on the french bread, add a clove or two of the roasted garlic and top with the tomato chutney. A perfect appetizer.