My friend Heather came over for dinner not so long ago and brought a jar of jalapeño jam as a hostess gift. A lovely and unmerited gift, to be sure, but I’ll admit to wondering if she’d picked it out especially because she thought it would be delicious, or just because it might stymie me. She’s ornery like that sometimes. But seriously, jalapeño jam? What on god’s green earth was I supposed to do with that? So, into the cupboard it went and life marched on.
But, then, last week I found myself prepping for dinner party 1 of 4 (in a row, thank you SO much) and in need of a little something for people to nibble on while I wrapped up the main event in the kitchen. In the fridge I had a little log of chevre that I’d picked up to go with the tapenade I’d not had time to make. I glared at the goat cheese accusatorily til the door alarm started chiming, and then I remembered the jalapeño jam in the cupboard.
More importantly, I also remembered the ur-Southern appetizer of cream cheese spread with hot pepper jelly. Could goat cheese and jalapeño jam be pressed into service as a modern update of the classic? Well, yes, apparently. I’ve plated this baby up probably three times in the last two weeks. It’s easy, tasty, and really quite pretty too.
Just spread your goat cheese about 1/3″ thick on a small plate or dish (easier if softened a bit, but not strictly necessary) and gently spoon and spread over an even gloss of the pepper jelly. I like to add a little chopped fresh jalapeño and some black pepper, but again, this is really all about how NOT to be all fiddly. Serve forth with toasts or crackers and feel retro chic.