Baked Green Hill Cheese from Helen in Birmingham, Alabama. This warm dip is one of chef Rob McDaniel’s favorite appetizers for tailgating and cool-weather entertaining.
“Like many dishes that find their way onto the Helen menu, I tried this at home first. It’s everything you love about warm cheese—soft and gooey. The onions are cooked down to a point that reminds me more of a savory caramel instead of onion. When the two dance together on a piece of grilled sourdough, the real magic happens, and you have a funky, sweet, crunchy happiness.”
1 wheel of Green Hill Cheese
3 onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon fresh minced thyme
3 thick slices sourdough bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Remove your Green Hill from the refrigerator to come up to room temperature, and while it’s still cold, remove the top layer of bloomy rind to expose the creamy cheese underneath.
2. In a heavy bottom pan, melt your butter over medium-high heat, then add the thinly sliced onion.
3. Season with a sprinkle of salt (the salt will help the onions release their juice which will add in the caramelization process). Once the onions start to sweat, turn the heat to medium and stir occasionally.
4. Once the bottom of the pan starts to brown, add a little water to release the fond created by the onion juice. At this point, Chef Rob normally turns the heat up and stirs constantly to speed the process up, and you can easily continue to let the onions slowly caramelize by stirring occasionally.
5. Be careful not to burn the onion as that will turn it bitter and caramelized onions should be sweet! Once your onions have turned a dark caramel color, add the fresh thyme and cool, unless using immediately. (The onions can be prepared up to a day ahead of time.)
6. Once your cheese has reached room temperature (after about 1 hour) turn your broiler on, place the Green Hill on a small piece of parchment ,which will make plating much easier as once the cheese is warm it is a little tricky to handle.
7. Place the Green Hill on a baking sheet of oven-proof pan.
8. Drizzle the olive oil on the sliced sourdough, season with salt and pepper, and toast under the broiler. (Chef’s tip: try the bread grilled!) Once the bread is toasted, place your Green Hill under the broiler, and if your cheese is room temperature, this will only take 3-4 minutes.
9. While your cheese is under the broiler, cut your sourdough into small pieces for scooping. Once the cheese is warm and soft around the edges place the warm onions over the top.
10. Place in the center of your serving plate and arrange the sourdough around the cheese. Finish with a few grinds of fresh black pepper and serve hot and quickly.