The actual title of this recipe is "Transparency of Manchego Cheese." I came across it while skimming through the Alinea cookbook, and decided it would be fun to make. I decided not to make that the title of the post however, as the thinnest slices of Manchego cheese I was able to produce with my mandoline, when melted, didn't quite produce the "transparency" effect. Must be time to invest in a professional meat and cheese slicer.
It's probably the simplest recipe in the Alinea cookbook; a thin slice of manchego cheese melted gently over an assortment of garnishes - roasted red and yellow bell peppers, oven-dried niçoise olives, a crouton, a small cube of Manchego cheese, a single clove of roasted garlic, and an dollop of olive oil pudding. All topped with a grind of black pepper and a few leaves of arugula. Quite delicious, I really enjoyed this modern approach to a traditional cheese course.
All the elements worked wonderfully together. The oven-dried olives were a first for me. The flavor was not really any different from a normal olive, but it had an interesting crunch, which brought a nice variety in texture to the plate. The olive oil pudding was also a star, but that sort of goes without saying. Pudding? Good. Olive oil? Good. Olive oil pudding? Fantastic. It was essentially the sauce component of the dish, it played this role perfectly.
Unfortunately, the photos of this dish turned out quite lousy, so no additional photos on Facebook this time.