Savory Cheesecakes

savory cheesecakeI particularly love these tidy little bundles of cheese.  They explode with flavor when served with a light salad dressed only with oil, vinegar and seasoning.  They are ideal with arugula, but a butter lettuce, or mixed spring greens are great substitutes. These little cheesecakes make any meal special, but they are so good, we are betting they’ll  become a regular part of your repertoire.

2 t unsalted butter, softened
Panko or homemade breadcrumbs
1 C (one 8-ounce container) whipped cream cheese
2 large eggs
1/4 C sour cream
½ t white or black pepper
2 T minced fresh parsley, divided
1/4 C crumbled blue cheese, like Stilton or Roquefort

Salad
3 C fresh garden greens or a mixture of arugula and butterhead lettuce
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 t red wine vinegar
Dash salt and freshly ground pepper

For the mini cheesecakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat four small soufflé molds with the butter. Divide the bread crumbs among the molds and coat the bottoms and sides heavily with the crumbs, pressing them onto the buttered dish so they stick. In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Mix well with a whisk and divide among the soufflé molds. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese on top of the cream cheese mixture in the molds. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.
Arrange the molds on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. The cheesecakes will still be slightly wet and soft in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.

For the salad: Meanwhile, toss the lettuce leaves with the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Arrange on plates or a serving platter.

To serve: Invert each cooled mini cheesecake into one of your hands to unmold it, then turn it over so it is right side up and place it on top of the lettuce. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

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