Christmas Appetiser: Italian Cheese Loaf
Recipe video above. Looks so festive, easy to make and a flavour bomb inside! Terrific economical, make ahead alternative to expensive cheese platters. It's like an antipasto platter in cheese log form! Adaptable and versatile! **Can freeform it instead of using loaf pan**
Servings: 15 - 20
- 500 g / 1 lb cream cheese , softened (Note 1)
- 1/3 cup sour cream (Note 2)
- 1/2 tsp EACH thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, black pepper OR 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, salt, red pepper/chilli flakes (adjust to taste)
- 2 cup cheddar or other cheese , freshly grated (Note 3)
- 280 g / 9 oz roasted peppers , drained and finely chopped
- 180 g / 6 oz salami , finely chopped (Note 4)
- 3/4 cup green olives , finely chopped
- 1/3 cup green onion , finely minced (3 - 4 stalks)
- 220 g / 7 oz sun dried tomato strips with OIL , roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley , finely chopped (or chives)
- Rosemary sprigs (decoration)
- Jatz or other crackers , for serving
Spray a loaf pan with oil then line with cling wrap with overhang.
Mix Cheese Log ingredients together. Taste and adjust salt if needed (bear in mind saltiness of crackers you are serving with).
Scrape into loaf pan and level surface, pressing to remove air pockets. Smaller pan = taller loaf.
Cover with cling wrap overhang and refrigerate for 4 hours+ (up to 1 week).
Turn out onto platter, peel off cling wrap.
Top with sun dried tomato and pour over oil. Garnish with parsley and rosemary sprigs to give it a festive look.
Best to serve closer to room temp than fridge cold. Serve with crackers! Knives for smearing optional - it's soft enough to scoop with crackers.
1. Cream Cheese - I use Philadelphia blocks. In the UK and some parts of Europe, cream cheese only comes in tubs and it's softer, like the spreadable kind. If you can only get the spreadable kind, skip the sour cream.
2. Sour Cream - or yogurt or mayonnaise. Forgot to add it in the video, had to add it later off camera! It's just to loosen the mixture a touch, makes it nice and easy to scoop with crackers.
3. Cheese - use any cheese you want. Skip mozzarella - doesn't have enough seasoning for a recipe like this. For an authentic Italian experience, use Asiago which is an Italian cheese. Best to freshly grate - strands are finer so they blend through better. Store bought tends to be chunkier grates - if you use pre shredded, give it a rough chop.
4. Salami - I use hot! I buy the large round presliced salami from the deli, makes it easier to chop (see video). Salami packs a good flavour punch and is a key flavouring element in this recipe.
5. Freeform - Scrape onto cling wrap, roughly shape into log. Roll up like a sausage and twist ends. Keep twisting ends to tighten the log - will smooth out the shape. Refrigerate, then once cool you can mould it more.
6. Customise it! Switch out any of the add ins for whatever you want. To make it meatless, skip the salami but add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan (will give it a great flavour punch). Other ideas: artichokes, capers, any other type of olives you want, pickles/gherkins finely chopped, any other pickled vegetable or antipasto type things. Finely chopped cooked chorizo or crumbled bacon, even ham!
Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 876mg | Potassium: 384mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1050IU | Vitamin C: 25.3mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 1.1mg