Baked brie is always a hit appetizer at parties, and the easiest — not to mention delicious — way to serve it is this classic recipe. Top with chutney, jalapeño jelly, fruit preserves or salsa!
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A couple of years ago I started making a three-ingredient spread that has seen Jackie and me through many, many sessions of pre-dinner drinks. It is simply a mash of olives and cream cheese, brightened with lemon zest. (I didn’t realize at the time that something similar actually existed: I’ve looked at other recipes and immodestly prefer my own for its simplicity, its high olive content and its lemon zest.)Using good olives and good cream cheese – preferably a fresh, properly tart and cheeselike smaller-production variety such as Ben’s from upstate New York – yields a spread that can shmeared on Scandinavian-style rye bread, dense pumpernickel or crispbread, either by itself or even topped with smoked salmon: the olives and lemon zest make sense with smoked fish.What if I make too much or don’t serve enough of it? The leftovers – all by themselves – make a dandy buttery-tasting (though butterless) olive-cream sauce for pasta. Do not scoff: Think of delicious pasta sauces made of other cheeses and little else, like the Roman cacio e pepe or my beloved gorgonzola and arugula. And there’s rarely a down side to olives.So make the spread and then make the pasta.Serves many as a spread; the leftovers (two thirds of the total quantity) will serve two as a main-course spaghetti sauce (or four as a pasta starter)