Just in time for the 5th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival this weekend, this simple tartine (a French open-faced sandwich) highlights one of our favorite local producers, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company.
Their award-winning blue cheese exhibits a great deal of complexity attributed to the lush, organic grass their Holstein cows graze on, the thick coastal fog and the salty Pacific breeze.
With a much creamier style than many blues, we love to pair this cheese with natural honey or a wedge of gooey honeycomb. For a unique twist, we quickly candied some ruby-hued Moro blood orange zest and tied it all together with toasted pine nuts, black pepper and fresh rosemary.
The result was exactly what we hoped for: creamy, salty and sweet with just a hint of sour. Truthfully, we couldn’t get enough — and hope you feel the same.
- 4 medium blood oranges (another orange variety will work well, if not available)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- french or sourdough baguette, 1/4 inch slices, cut on the bias
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- wedge of Point Reyes Blue Cheese
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- fresh rosemary sprig
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon natural honey
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the rind from the oranges in long strips. Place in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then drain and rinse. Repeat this step two additional times to remove the bitter characteristics of the pith (the white part of the rind).
Place zest back in saucepan, add sugar and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let cook slowly until the liquid becomes thick and syrupy, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil onto a plate and coat each bread slice with oil on one side. Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet (oiled side up). Place under the broiler for about 2 minutes per side, or until crisp and lightly.
Spread about 1/2 tablespoon blue cheese on each toast and crumble a piece of the candied zest over top. Sprinkle with a couple pine nuts and fresh rosemary sprigs. Crack fresh black pepper over top and drizzle with a small amount of honey and extra virgin olive oil.
Serve immediately + enjoy!
Check out this fun Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail Map for a complete listing of all the region’s local artisan cheesemakers.