Despite my recent foray into Southeast Asian cocktail catering, I’ve found myself doing lots of Mediterranean cooking this summer as well.

The region offers a dizzying array of dishes that are fast and light but don’t skimp on the flavor; perfect for easy entertaining on days when it’s so hot and sticky that the mere thought of hoisting more than a wine glass is exhausting.

And, while it’s beastly hot here in D.C., I find it’s always nice to have at least one hot dish on the table all the same. This is a lovely appetizer/snack that hits that hot, cheesy spot with amazing ease. It takes about 5 minutes to prep and since it’s just broiled briefly, it doesn’t even heat up the kitchen–just the thing for a random weeknight cocktail guests.

It’s lovely on its own with quick pre-dinner drinks, but you could just as easily add a few more things for a quite respectable spread and forget dinner altogether: olives, baba ghanouj, various salumi-type things, stuffed grape leaves, and the like (most of which are easily purchase-able).

Oh, and don’t be weirded out by the rather agressive amount of jalapeno, the broiler tames their heat and all you’re left with a lilting spicy tingle. You’ll need to find yourself a nice, shallow, oven-safe dish that will snugly accomodate the cheese in a single layer. I generally use a 10″ square dish with a low rim and it’s perfect.

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