Throughout my twenties I frequented an establishment in Cambridge, Mass. called the B-Side Lounge. It was perfectly balanced, being both a well-stocked bar and an eatery with dishes that could rival any establishment. The crowd was always full of some of the Boston area’s best folks, and the staff were equally as charming and talented. There were so many things about this place that were perfect. The decor, the cocktail list, the menu! The one menu item that was my favorite, as well as a favorite of friends, was the Baked Gouda in a Skillet served with crostinis.
An old photo I took of the airplane fan inside of the B-Side Lounge
Baked Gouda in a Skillet. As a menu item! Perfect for cold winter nights when you just want to sit down, enjoy the company you are with, have a cocktail and share cheese. It’s been four years since the B-Side closed, and four years since I’ve dipped a crunchy crostini into a bubbling pool of gouda, cream, garlic, et al.
Today, I have fixed that. I decided to give a try at recreating this dish from my memory and the memory of my friends. There was a debate, briefly, about whether or not there were potatoes mixed in. My friends and I came to an understanding that while we do remember there being potato stick slices in the dish at one point, originally it was made without potatoes. My recipe has no potatoes. I also used a 6.5 inch skillet. If I remember correctly, the restaurant used either an eight or ten inch skillet.
My recipe does have a lot of cheese. Like, a lot, a lot. It also has garlic, shallots, cream, herbs, and the tiniest amount of butter.
I started by sautéing the garlic and shallots in the skillet. Then added cream. And cheese. And herbs. And some more cream. And then some more cheese. Then once it’s smooth in the pan, I just stuck it into the oven and waited.
The result was pretty similar to what I remember. It may not be the exact same proportions of this to that of its predecessor, but it came so close I can consider this an accomplished feat.
To make the B-Side Lounge Baked Gouda in a Skillet:
- 8 ounces Gouda cheese
- 1/3 cup of heavy cream
- 1 small shallot, sliced thin
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
Pre-heat your oven to 375°F.
Put the skillet over medium heat and add butter, garlic and shallots. Once those have sauteéd a few minutes, add about 1/2 of the heavy cream. Next, add in 1/2 of the cheese, bit by bit, allowing it to melt evenly and smoothly into the cream.
Put in the rosemary and thyme. Then add the rest of the cream, and then the remaining cheese. Again, mix while you add the cheese. Once it is smooth and thickened, move the skillet into the over. Don’t forget, the skillet is HOT, so use caution.
Leave in the oven for 12-14 minutes. Once done, secure the skillet and let briefly cool.
For the Crostinis:
Slice whatever kind of bread you’d enjoy having, but a loaf of crunchy crusty bread is ideal. Take each slice and give it a light coat of olive oil on each side. Put on top rack of oven and let brown. When one side is done, flip it over and toast the other side also. After a few minutes, the bread should be browned and crispy and perfect for dipping. (You can do this either before or after making the gouda in a skillet.)
Serves 2-3, depending on how much each of you love cheese.
Update: See the comments section for additional information regarding more ingredients used for the B-Side Lounge Baked Gouda in a Skillet…including fried potato sticks & goat cheese!