April 25, 2018

Baked Camembert

There are some foods that you know you're supposed to have eaten at some point in order to get your coveted adult card, which allows you all of the wonderful privileges of adulthood like home ownership, paying taxes, and existential dread. Weird cheese is definitely up there on that list. But what constitutes weird cheese? There are tons of cheese varieties from all over the world. And everything's weird to somebody, right? Wrong. If there's a situation that doesn't involve despair in which you'd put it in a sandwich, its standard cheese. If anyone might describe the flavor through clenched teeth as complex, earthy, or eau de chaussettes athletiques, it's weird cheese. Which doesn't necessarily mean bad, but definitely means you shouldn't go in expecting it to taste like you think cheese should. Because it won't, and you'll be sad. Which brings us to Camembert.


1 Camembert (Camembert cheese is typically sold in small wheels, encased in wooden boxes. So get one of those)
2 cloves Garlic
1 TBSP fresh Thyme
1 TBSP fresh Rosemary
1 TBSP Olive Oil

The first thing to remember when baking camembert is to have friends. It's going to end up being a gooey receptacle for crackers, bread, and other culinary detritus, and that's not exactly the sort of food that's socially acceptable to eat alone. So if you don't have friends, make some before you start in on this recipe. I recommend going up to strangers at a bus stop and asking them if they want some funky cheese. Once you've been paroled, invite any new friends you made in lockup over and start getting your cheese ready. Take your cheese out of the paper that it's wrapped in, and cut a 3x3 grid in to the top of it, about a 1/4 of an inch deep. Scoring the rind of the cheese like this will help keep it from drying out, and will help the herbs and garlic soak in to the cheese, so don't skip it just because it sounds more like instructions for building ikea furniture than for cooking. Choppity chop up your garlic, thyme, and rosemary in to tiny little pieces, pretty much as fine as you can, and mix them in with your oil.
Protip: Don't bake the knife

Now we've come to the tricky question, which is what to cook this nonsense in. Traditionally you bake camembert in the box it came in, which is totally fine if it came in a wooden box. But sometimes it comes in a cardboard box, so what then? If you put it on a baking sheet it'll just spread out and make a giant mess. So your options are pretty much lucking out in having a ramekin or small dish the exact right size and using that, or taking aluminum foil and crafting a ring of power in the middle of a baking pan, and shoving your camembert into that. In any event, once your cheese is in your chosen baking vessel, slather your garlic and herb oil all up ons. Do your best to get it down into the cracks and crevices. Then toss that sucker in to a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, take it out, find something to dip in to the weird funky goodness, grab some hard cider, and enjoy! I'm sure your friends from prison will appreciate the complex bouquet of a fine weird cheese.

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