Pecorino Fonduta with Lavender Honey

from Chef Donatella Arpaia

8 ounces young pecorino cheese (aged no more than 3 years), cut into small dice
3 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted (page 49) and chopped
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves plus a few sprigs for garnish
12 slices rustic Italian bread
1 teaspoon lavender or other
artisanal honey
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the cheese, nuts, red-pepper flakes, and thyme leaves in a large bowl. Transfer to a 2-cup ovenproof dish and bake until the fonduta is golden brown on the top and the cheese is fully melted.

Meanwhile, using tongs, “grill” the bread slices on both sides over a gas flame or by placing the bread directly on the coils of an electric burner, taking care not to let them char.

Place the warm cheese dish on a cutting board, drizzle with the honey, season with the salt and pepper, and garnish with the thyme sprigs.

Surround with the grilled bread and serve.

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