Goat Cheese Cigarillos with Olive-oil Cured Nasturtium Leaves {Recipe & Video}


Wild Nasturtium flowers have long been prized in the culinary world for their vibrant petals and peppery flavor that lend themselves well to salads, compound butters, and garnish.  But how about the leaves?  This is a question I asked myself a while back during one of my foraging forays.  Nasturtium leaves are so abundant, I just had to try something!


It turns out, the leaves are perfect for a quick blanching, then used as a vibrant green wrapper for tasty fillings.  I came up with this very simple way of wrapping mild chevre inside the blanched leaves, then letting them cure in olive oil, black peppercorns and lemon zest overnight.

If you're curious about how the leaves taste, they are very mild.  Blanching removes any bitterness and bite.  The texture is very delicate.  They are more tender than grape leaves.


Served the next day over toast points rubbed with a garlic clove, these small bites are not only beautiful, but the taste is out of this world.  If you love goat cheese, you can't go wrong with the combination of garlic, bread, cheese, good olive oil and aromatics.  If you don't care for chevre, try soft feta or even herb cream cheese.

Sometimes pretty foods are all about the novelty and lack the flavor to back up the visual temptations -- not so here.




I put together a short video to demonstrate how these were made, including a hack for blanching large leaves without them curling up and sticking together (Thank you, Chef Stone at Johnson & Wales University for teaching me this trick).

GOAT CHEESE CIGARILLOS WITH OLIVE-OIL CURED NASTURTIUM LEAVES
Chevre Nasturtium Cigarillo Tutorialhttps://youtu.be/rh2W5ZguIscHow to make olive oil cured Nasturtium leaf and Goat Cheese Cigarilloshttps://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XgbpFO3NMis/Xp5LEytVEOI/AAAAAAAAdko/gACPuOGce8cbwCz8Zr3bh6LHdeIHdyVTQCLcBGAsYHQ/s640/nasturtium%2Bchevre%2Bgoat%2Bcheese%2Bcrostini%2Bolive%2Boil%2Bforaging%2Brecipe6.jpg

GOAT CHEESE CIGARILLOS WITH OLIVE-OIL CURED NASTURTIUM LEAVES

Author:
How to use foraged wild Nasturtium leaves to make a beautiful and delicious appetizer with goat cheese, garlic toast points and lemon-black pepper olive oil.

Ingredients:

Quantities are up to you, based on how many you want to make)
  • Nasturtium leaves (medium size work best because they are still young and tender, but big enough to roll) 
  • Nasturtium blossoms/petals for garnish Olive oil (a light tasting one, or a combination of oils that you like) 
  • lemon zest 
  • black peppercorns 
  • 4 cups boiling water (approximately, depending on the number of leaves 
  • goat cheese (or soft feta, or herb cream cheese) 
  • toasted baguette slices a large garlic clove

Instructions:

  1. Step 1: Fill the container that you'll be using to cure the cigarillos with about 1/2 inch of olive oil. 
  2. Step 2: Add lemon zest and black peppercorns. Crush a few peppercorns to release a bit more pepper flavor. Stir. 
  3. Step 3: Arrange your gently washed and dried leaves on a wire rack. The wire rack should be set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the boiling water over the leaves until they begin to wilt. 
  4. Step 4: Carefully remove the rack from the pan. Place a dry towel over the leaves and rack. Flip towel and rack over. Remove the rack. Arrange the leaves on the towel. 
  5. Step 5: Fill each leaf with cheese, then roll up tightly. Put each roll into the olive oil. Continue until finished rolling. Cover the container and refrigerate for 24 hours. If, after 24 hours, your olive oil has set and gone cloudy, just let it sit out for a few minutes. 
  6. Step 6: Enjoy the cigarillos on top of a salad, on crackers, or serve on toasted baguette slices rubbed with a raw garlic clove. Drizzle some of the oil on the toasts before adding the cigarillo. 

Notes:

Tip: The leftover oil is awesome for making a vinaigrette or using as a dip for a good crusty bread. You can also reuse it to make more cigarillos. Just make sure to keep uneaten cigarillos in the refrigerator.
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