This is much easier than it looks and sounds - very strong flavours and very rich! We had it as a dinner (on a weeknight, seriously, it is easy enough to make after work), but I couldn't finish my pannacotta and it made a really delicious snack spread on a cracker a couple of days later. It's a firmer set than a normal dessert pannacotta.
Using agar, a vegetarian cheese and leaving out the bacon, you would have quite an elegant dish to serve your son's new vegetarian girlfriend, to let her know she is welcome in your home.
In my family we always use white wine, garlic and rosemary in fondue, and I love those flavours with cheese, so I added them to my pannacotta.
Blue cheese pannacotta
100ml dry white wine
1 sachet gelatine
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp rosemary leaves, chopped
2tbs sour cream
200g strongly flavoured blue cheese (I used stilton), grated
crisp bacon or proscuitto (optional)
roasted sesame oil
Put half the wine in a small bowl & sprinkle the sachet of gelatine evenly over the surface. Set it aside for a few minutes to sponge. Put the rest of the wine, the garlic and the rosemary in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Add the sour cream and gradually add the cheese, stirring constantly while it melts. Add the gelatine to the melted cheese mixture and stir until smooth - do not allow to boil.
Rinse a couple of ramekins out in cold water, pour the cheese mixture into the wetted moulds, cover with cling film and put in the fridge to set. I cheated and put it in the freezer for half an hour first to kick start it, then it only needed an hour to set.
Arrange your lettuce, beetroot and walnuts on your serving dishes. Sprinkle with a little balsamic and sesame oil. In a perfect world it'd be walnut oil, but I never have walnut oil on hand and I do have sesame oil.
Loosen the edges of your pannacottas with a palette knife and turn it onto your fingers, then place on the bed of salad and garnish with the crisp proscuitto.