The fun thing with these appetizers is you can have your own creativity with them. Use whatever herbs and spices you wish; as long as it will complement each other, and your meal. You can keep them all the same too, but I think the fun of it is to make a few different ones so that your guests will keep trying more. This is also the time to use a great olive oil and balsamic…it is all about big and bold flavor in the small bites that make this impressive. I cannot tell you how many times I have made these when I catered or just for a gathering of our own. Always a crowd pleaser, and always shocked at how people “OOHH and AAHHH” over them when they take just minutes to whip up.
Marinated Herb and Spice Chevre Balls (feeds at least 6 or more)
1 Chevre package (at least 4 oz)
Assorted Herbs and Spices (see note below)
Olive Oil (about 3 tbsp)
Aged Balsamic (about 2 tbsp)
Nuts (toasted pistachios, walnuts, or almond)
First, on a cutting board place your Chevre and cut it up into evenly sized pieces (as many as you would like). With clean hands, firmly yet gently roll the portioned Chevre into balls and place on a plate. You want to work quickly so that they stay cool and keep their shape. When done place on a plate and chill in the refrigerator until needed.
Next, in little plates or bowls place your herbs and spices. I used freshly ground black pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, smoked paprika, and Hawaiian red sea salt; but you can use whatever you like. You can start with at least a tablespoon or two of each. Remove the Chevre from the refrigerator and roll a few in each herb and spice and set aside. Place them on a plate, cover, and chill again in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. (This can be done a day ahead, just be sure to wrap well in plastic wrap before storing.)
Finally, get a platter that has a nice rim to it. Pour your olive oil in the center and then drizzle your balsamic. You want the balsamic to be scattered across the platter, and not just in one spot. Gently place your herb and spiced Chevre balls in the olive oil and balsamic so they begin to marinate. Serve with your bread and nuts. Have a spoon to serve so that when picking up the Chevre you grab a bit of the olive oil and balsamic marinade as well.
Note: I have used a variety of herbs and spices on these. I have done anything from parsley, basil, tarragon, dill, lavender, cumin, even crushed red pepper (although I usually only dip half the Chevre in the crushed red pepper because it is too spicy and overpowering) besides the ones I mentioned above. I have found that using the dried herbs stick better to the rolled balls and have a better appearance then using fresh. Also, be sure to consider what you are eating with your meal. For example: I wouldn’t roll a bunch of them in dill and cumin if I was eating an Italian meal to follow, but I would roll them in basil, black pepper, or even rosemary, Be creative and have fun with it.