Every good get-together begins with an array of tasty appetizers. These take shape in the form of everything from savory spinach and artichoke dip to herby pigs in a blanket. Perhaps the most show-stopping appetizer of all, however, is the cheese ball. A good cheese ball is creamy, rich, and salty, but most importantly bursting with flavor. To ensure that yours hits the mark during your next gathering, be sure to saute the aromatic ingredients before adding them to your recipe.
Aromatics are a category of ingredients that are known for their strong flavor and aroma — hence their name. They elevate any dish they are in by creating a unifying foundation against which other flavors shine. To do their best work, however, aromatics need to be exposed to heat. This is because applying heat helps them to release the oils and other compounds that make them so fragrant and delicious — those which otherwise would not be unlocked. The more potent the aromatics, the more pungent and delectable your cheese ball will be, so it's a step you won't want to skip.
Cook With Care For The Best Results
Heating aromatics can be done via a variety of methods, from sauteeing them on the stovetop — like in this bacon jalapeño cheeseball recipe from Tasting Table developer Joe Dillard — to roasting them in the oven. Whichever approach you take, keep in mind that it is best to go slow and low when cooking these ingredients. Many aromatics are delicate and can be prone to burning or overcooking when introduced to high heat. Once they are ready, be sure to let them cool before incorporating them into your cheese ball, otherwise, their heat might cause the cheese to melt or curdle.
Classic aromatics used in cheese balls include items like garlic and bell peppers, which only require a quick sweat to achieve great results; however, don't be afraid to play around with this technique to create new experiences for you and your guests. Go beyond sweating your onions and instead caramelize them for a sweet and intense flavor. Alternatively, incorporate aromatics from other cuisines, like ginger or lemongrass, for a unique cheese ball.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.