Help for the home cook: Afrim Pristine’s awesome “Embrace the Stinky” Bread
Afrim Pristine, Ontario Cheese Ambassador, Maître Fromager, owner of Toronto’s Cheese Boutique and all-around culinary dynamo is one of the star chefs who collaborated with Dairy Farmers of Ontario to create Savour Ontario at Home, a free recipe collection designed to inspire home chefs to shake up their meal repertoires.
The recipes include Pristine’s delicious and addictive way to embrace one of his favourite Ontario cheeses, stink and all.
“My fiancée, Courtney, and I love crusty bread and we obviously love cheese,” he says.“This is a simple, yet extremely satisfying recipe. Bread, wicked cheese, a salsa verde of fresh herbs and garlic—what’s not to love?”
For Pristine, 5 Brothers cheese works perfectly in this recipe. “It’s one of Courtney’s fave cheeses and, in my opinion, one of the best in our amazing, bountiful province. It’s fruity, fairly mild but super flavourful. Once it’s all prepped and this bread goes into the oven to bake, the heat just blows up the flavour of the cheese, releasing its nutty, funky aromatics. The other day, Courtney and I crushed an entire loaf easily. We had it with Aperol spritz while watching our favourite TV show right now, Billions. It was an amazing night.”
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- ½ small white onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded
- ½ cup (125 ml) cilantro
- 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) whole tomatillos, drained
- Juice from 1 fresh lime
- Fine sea salt
- 1½ lb (700 g) round loaf of sourdough rye bread
- 10 oz (285 g) grated 5 Brothers from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Woodstock, Ont.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To make the salsa verde, combine the garlic, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro in a food processor. Process the ingredients until finely chopped. Add the tomatillos, and pulse until combined, but don’t pulse the living daylights out of it; be sure to leave some texture. Mix in the lime juice, and season to taste with salt. Tip: Should you have any leftover salsa verde, transfer it to an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- To assemble, place the loaf of bread on the prepared baking sheet.
- Using a knife, make cuts 2 inches (5 cm) deep and 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart in the loaf. Rotate the loaf a quarter-turn, then make the same cuts again to create 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes.
- Pour some salsa verde into each of the cuts. Then, take the cheese and stuff it into each of the cuts.
- Cover the loaf with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 7 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese has melted.
- Serve hot and tear this cheesy bread to shreds.