Baked camembert is a tasty treat for curd-loving eaters everywhere. The camembert takes on 'baked' or almost 'grilled' taste (and yes, you can grill it too, by the way). It is important to note that you need to score the top of the cheese, otherise it will inflate like a balloon and fly away (if you're going the grilling direction). And you want the cheese for yourself, right? Not for some hungry vulture flying over your house.
For French and for cheese connoisseurs, baking camembert would be a blashphemy, but for common guy who wants something warm and cheesy for his dinner, this is a great and relativelly easy recipe. Our concotion will be served in a Kaiser bun with green bean shoots and caramelized onion sauce (quick and dirty guide how-to included), plus there will be second variation on the end of the instructable. So let's get to it.
Sorry for the photo "after slicing", but my camera battery died and I couldn't wait for ages to get a new one as the smell of my lunch was overpowering.
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Step 1: Prepare All You Need So You Don't Need to Rush to Grocery Store in the Middle of the Recipe
So, ingredients, right? For the baked camembert:
- Kaiser bun (or any bun/not-bun you desire)
- Whole camembert (I had just a small one, about 90g)
- 2 garlic cloves
- green bean shoots (or other vegetation your heart desires)
- pepper and/or other spices (optional)
For the caramelized onions:
- 2 standart sized onions (whatever that means)
- (canola) oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- teaspoon of sugar
- teaspoon of salt (optional)
- dried chillies (optional)
- 2-3 cloves (optional)
The proportion of onions vs. soda, sugar and salt is approximate, but too much baking soda will result in iron tasting onions, which you do not want.
Slice the onions into strips and score the camembert's top, but leave it in the wrapping, if the wrapping appears to be oven-safe.
Step 2: Infuse Flavors, Bake and Slice
Now slice thinly the garlic cloves and then insert the slices into the camembert's newly materializted crevices. Go on, press them in, don't be afraid. Slice your bun and put the camembert in its wrapping to the oven, that is rocking at 180ºC/350ºF. If you wanted to insert some other flavoring into the cheese, like thyme, almond flakes, honey (which would be hard due to its liquidity) or anything else, realize it now and quickly take the cheese out and make amends. Back into the oven the camembert goes!
Note of caution - even though we scored the top, your cheese will probably inflatea bit anyway. Don't be alarmed, just kep calm and carry on. After taking him out of the oven, it will get back in shape.
Step 3: Quick and Dirty Guide to Quick Caramelized Onions
I wrote quick because it really can be quick with the baking soda trick, that helps the caramelization. 10-15 minutes on the stove, depending on how dangerous you want to go. So:
Pan -> Stove
Medium-high heat -> Stove
Oil -> Pan
Onions -> Pan
Sugar, soda, (salt) -> Pan
Water -> In your quick reach
Spatula -> Your hand
Your restless attention -> Pan
Keep stirring the onions vigorously. They will start to 'wilt down'. Then they will brown and get 'soupy'. When you notice all the water has probaly evaporated, you need to splash in about tablespoon of water and stirr to incorporate. When this evaporates, you go again. basically you want to keep them between boiling and frying. After a while they will take on slight colour, then more, then even more, when they're at the colour you want, just take them off heat and add final tablespoon of water. There! Lovely caramelized onions!
You can flavor your onions by heating them along with sliced dried chillies and/or few whole cloves, both pairs great with them. My onions seem to be bit on a burnt side of things, but they tasted great and I like them bit well done. For more science on caramelizing onions head to Kenji Lopéz Alt's amazing article.
Step 4: Assemble and Customize
After about 15 minutes in the oven, the cheese should be baked, gooey and tasty. If you want toasted buns, you can shovel the sliced bun under a broiler along with the cheese for a few minutes, just don't take it too far as I did. (Which you can save by scraping the burnt layer off)
Then it's easy - bottom bun, green beans, few turns of black pepper mill, baked camembert, onion chutney/sauce/goo, any other toppings and finally top bun. Ooor...
Step 5: ... Shake Things Up
You can spice things up with bun toasted in skillet with a bit of butter, smeared with (homemade) chilli-garlic sauce and iceberg lettuce.
So that's it, melty baked camembert in a crispy bun and toppings of your choice as a simple and delicious meal. Great when you are starting in the kitchen or when you want to impress somebody.
Hope you give this recipe a try and like what you cooked.
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