Today I have an incredible, easy recipe. Indeed, this post hardly needs any words. Simply look at the photos. Fresh ciabatta bread baked with the ultimate topping. With three different cheeses melted togethe, kalamata olives and fresh basil. Resulting in crisp, crusty bread with the most flavourful, salty, fresh herb spiked, cheesy covering, Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread.
Philadelphia cream cheese, mozzarella and sharp cheddar gives this topping a great combination of melting gooeyness and great cheese flavour. Also adding the meaty kalamata olives and fresh basil provides an overall herby saltiness that goes well with cocktails, especially a Martini. While the topping is overly generous, it could be split to cover two open Ciabattas. Also you could slice the ciabatta thinly, or cut into squares and these would make elegant, pre dinner canapés.
Why is it that cheese tastes even better when melted?
Recipe: Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
1 x Regular size Ciabatta Bread – split open
75g/3oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese – I find own brands too watery for this recipe
75g/3oz Grated Sharp/Mature Cheddar – I use Wyke Mature Cheddar
50g/2oz Kalamata Olives – I use olives with the stones in
1tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/4 – 1/2tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste
Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7
Making the cheese and olive topping
- First of all place a medium sized bowl on to some digital scales. This will make adding ingredients much easier.
- Spoon the Philadelphia cream cheese into the bowl and break up the drained mozzarella cheese, adding it to the cream cheese.
- Next add the grated mature cheddar to the bowl.
- Remove the stones from the olives. Press each olive with the flat side of the knife. Easily remove the stone using your fingers from the squashed olive.
- Chop the olives roughly, adding to the bowl until the correct weight is achieved.
- Now chop the fresh basil fairly roughly and add to the bowl.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
- Use a fork to mix all of the ingredients together.
Cutting and covering the ciabatta
- Cut the Ciabatta bread in half lengthways and place on to a baking tray.
- Divide the cheese mixture in half and cover each half of the ciabatta.
Baking the cheese covered ciabatta
- Place the ciabatta into the top of the preheated oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. The bread is baked when it is golden and crusty and the cheese is meltingly bubbly on top.
- While the ciabatta is baking pour yourself a long, cool glass of your favourite drink!
- As soon as the ciabatta is baked remove from the oven. Also scoop any melted cheese that has escaped from the bread back on top.
Because I love cheese, especially when it is melted, I could probably eat this everyday. I prefer savoury over sweet anyday. Especially when it has the salty kick of olives.
To serve, place on to a wooden board and slice the ciabatta across, dividing each half into 5 or 6 pieces. Pass around to delighted guests.
The topping can be made one day ahead and kept in a sealed container in the fridge. Once baked this bread should be consumed on the day it is eaten.
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While baking from scratch is something I enjoy, quick easy recipes, or in some cases assemblies, are essential to have on hand. Whether we are rushed off our feet with the busyness of life, or the opposite, too hot or tired to contemplate ‘cooking’, we all need a stash of no fail, easy recipes. As soon as they are assembled and baked, we can breath a collective sigh of relief, take a deep breath and enjoy our time together.
Whatever you are making, baking or even assembling in your kitchens, remember to have fun. Food tastes better when shared and the hostess is relaxed!
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