Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes
Everyone who knows me, knows I am a sucker for a cheese board. I love the combination of rich and nutty cheese with the delicate sweetness of fruit. Cheese boards are an entertaining staple for me, but when I want to change it up, I opt for this dish of creamy, velvety whipped goat cheese and juicy balsamic-roasted grapes with crunch from garlic-thyme crostini. Whether it’s just you and a friend or you’re entertaining a crowd, this dish is sure to be a hit!
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and set aside for the crostini.
Toss together the grapes and the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on another rimmed baking sheet; season with kosher salt and pepper. Top with the sprigs of thyme. Roast on the upper oven rack until the grapes blister, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk to combine the 1/4 cup olive oil with half of the chopped thyme, half of the garlic, a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds pepper in a small bowl. Brush onto the tops of the baguette slices and place on the oiled baking sheet. While the grapes roast, bake the baguette slices on the lower oven rack for 5 minutes.
Combine the goat cheese with the lemon zest, honey, remaining 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme and grated garlic and a few grinds pepper in a food processor. Process until well combined, about 1 minute. Stream in the heavy cream with the machine running and process until the goat cheese is aerated and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with kosher salt and pepper.
Remove the grapes and bread from the oven and set the oven to broil. Flip the crostini. Remove and discard the sprigs of thyme from the grapes and carefully toss the grapes with the balsamic vinegar. Return the grapes to the upper oven rack and the crostini to the lower rack and broil until the grapes are caramelized and the bread is toasted, about 5 minutes -- watch closely, as broilers vary.
To plate, spread the whipped goat cheese in a shallow bowl, top with the grapes and drizzle with any juices from the baking sheet. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, thyme leaves and pepper. Place on a platter with the crostini and enjoy.
The whipped goat cheese can be made in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.