Cheese Roulade With Herbed Goats’ Cheese And Grilled Red Capsicum
I know at first glance this recipe might seem a bit complicated, but it’s surprisingly easy to do and rather special and beautiful. If you just think of it as a cheese sauce, bolstered with egg yolks, lightened with egg whites and then baked, it helps. The capsicums for the filling can be prepared several days ahead; the filling itself is dead-easy as it’s whizzed up in a food processor – and the whole thing can be assembled up to a day ahead. I tend to decorate it with whatever herbs I happen to have in the garden. When we took the photo my parsley had started to flower, and as I love the look of the tiny little umbrellas it forms, I used these with small Greek basil leaves.
- 60g unsalted butter
- 55g plain flour
- 1 3/4 cups (440ml) cold milk
- 6 x 60g eggs, separated
- 60g finely grated parmesan
- Sea salt, to taste
- herb sprigs, to garnish
- 1 1/2 large red capsicums (peppers)
- 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 150g soft goat’s cheese marinated in herbs and olive oil (I use Meredith goat’s cheese or feta for
- 1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 heaped tablespoon good-quality mayonnaise
- Sea salt, to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons small parsley leaves
- About 6 large basil leaves, torn (or the equivalent in tiny basil leaves)
Preheat your oven to 180C. Lightly butter a shallow baking tin (40cm x 26cm x 3cm) and line the base and sides with a large sheet of baking paper. Set it aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring regularly, for about 3 minutes until the mixture looks sandy – a sauce whisk is ideal for stirring this, as its flat base gets into the corners of the pan. Increase the heat slightly and whisk in the cold milk. Bring the mixture to a gentle bubble, then reduce the heat so the bubbles just plop slowly on the surface and cook the sauce, whisking regularly, for 5 minutes or so until it’s smooth and thick.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, making sure each one is well incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the grated parmesan and salt – once the parmesan has melted, set the sauce aside.
Tip the whites into a clean, dry mixing bowl and whip them with a pinch of salt until they form smooth soft peaks when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Gently mix a quarter of the beaten whites into the cheese sauce to lighten it, then add this mixture to the remaining whites in the bowl and gently fold the two together. Try to use as gentle a touch as possible for this to keep the roulade light – it’s better to have a few streaks of white showing than to over-mix it and risk deflating the mixture.
Spread the cheese mixture evenly into the prepared tin, making sure it reaches into the corners. Bake it for about 17 minutes, or until the roulade feels springy and firm in the centre when you press on it gently.
While the roulade is baking, slightly overlap two large sheets of baking paper on your benchtop. When the roulade is ready, remove it from the oven and, taking your courage in both hands, quickly invert it onto the sheets of baking paper. I know this sounds a bit precarious, but it does work! Remove the tin and leave the roulade to cool for 20 minutes or so. (If the baking paper lining from the tin sticks to the roulade, just leave it there until you come to roll the roulade.)
Meanwhile, to make the filling, cut the capsicums along their natural contour lines into large pieces. Remove the cores, seeds and white ribs then run them under a hot grill, shiny-side up, until the skins blister and blacken. Take them out and cover them with a thick tea-towel. As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, peel away the skins and finely chop the flesh. (The grilled and peeled capsicums can be stored, covered in olive oil, for up to 5 days in the fridge.)
Put the cream cheese and goat’s cheese into a food processor and whiz them together, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally, until the mixture is smooth. Add the chopped chives, parsley, mayonnaise and salt to taste, then whiz everything together again to thoroughly combine them.
When the roulade is just cool, use a long palette knife to spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over it. Scatter the chopped capsicums, parsley leaves and torn basil all over the top. Next it needs to be rolled up to enclose the filling. I find the easiest way to do this is to roll it from the long side nearest you, using the paper to help you shape it into a log. (Start the roll with as tight a fold as you can, to avoid leaving a gap in the centre of the roulade.) This may sound a bit awkward but it isn’t that hard to do as the roulade is quite flexible. Once it’s rolled wrap the paper tightly around the roulade to help keep its shape, and carefully transfer it to a baking tray using that long palette knife again or a couple of wide spatulas. Don’t worry if it loses its shape a bit as you do this, just pat it back with your hands then put the tray with the roulade into the fridge. Chill it for at least 45 minutes to help firm everything up (it’s much easier to handle when it is cold). At this stage, you can serve the roulade immediately, or cover it loosely and leave it overnight.
About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve it, take the roulade out of the fridge to warm it up a little. Remove the paper and carefully slide it onto a long serving platter.Sprinkle it with herb leaves and flowers.
By the way…
This is rather lovely warm too. To heat it, cover the roulade loosely with foil and put it into a preheated 180C oven for 15-20 minutes (don’t leave it any longer though or the filling will melt).