A cheese plate for any time of day

A well-crafted cheese plate can be the ideal start or finish to a meal. But when Bryce Gilmore, the chef-owner of Barley Swine, shared his cheese-plate recipe we were stumped. Is the dish enjoyed best pre- or post-feast? The combination of slightly savory grilled zucchini bread with sweet caramelized figs and pungent, ash-strewn goat cheese obliterates the quandary. Whenever you choose to eat it, this plate of contrasts is a dish we can get behind–whatever the time of day.

Recipe adapted from Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin, TX

Zucchini Bread With Grilled Fig And Goat Cheese
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This cheese plate combines slightly savory grilled zucchini bread with sweet caramelized figs and pungent, ash-strewn goat cheese.
  • 2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ medium lemon, zested
  • 3 eggs
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
  • 8 fresh figs, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ pound sliced ash-covered goat cheese (such as Ste. Maure)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the butter with the brown sugar, granulated sugar and lemon zest until the butter is lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Fold the flour mixture and the grated zucchini into the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Pour the batter into a buttered and floured 9-inch loaf pan and place in the oven. Bake until the top is browned and the bread is cooked through, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the loaf from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely before slicing into ½-inch slices.
  3. On a hot grill pan or outdoor grill, brush the figs with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and grill until the figs are warmed and start to caramelize, about 20 seconds. Lay the zucchini-bread slices on the grill and grill until warm and grill marks form, about 1 minute. Arrange the grilled figs and zucchini-bread slices on a plate alongside the goat cheese and serve immediately.
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