Gouda, Apricot and Pancetta Gratin with Caraway Croutons
Nutty gouda cheese paired with sweet apricots and salty pancetta is a match made in heaven.
- 1 baguette cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 stick 4-ounce unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds toasted
- Kosher salt to taste
- 8 ounces imported Gouda shredded
- 8 ounces imported Neufchatel room temperature
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 ounces pancetta finely diced
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced fresh sage
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- Crudite such as mini sweet peppers, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets and asparagus
For croutons: Preheat oven to 350°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment
paper. Toss bread cubes in butter and caraway seeds in a large bowl until evenly coated. Season with salt to taste. Bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until light golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
For Gouda: Grease an 11-inch oval baker with cooking spray. Combine Gouda, Neufchatel, mayonnaise, sour cream and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Place into prepared oval baker and bake until cheese is melted and light golden-brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer pancetta to paper-towel-lined plate. Fry sage in pancetta fat until crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate along with pancetta.
Drizzle the preserves over the baked Gouda mixture and garnish with fried pancetta and sage. Serve warm with croutons and crudite.