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Goat-Cheese Flan : Mabe’s Chef Offers Southern California a First Course That’s Southern France

Dosti is a Times staff writer

GOAT-CHEESE FLAN is definitely Southern France,” says Claude Segal, Paris-born executive chef at Mabe restaurant and a chef who’s been around some: Ciboulet, Maxim’s and L’Archestrat in Paris; Ma Maison, Bistango and The Four Oaks in Los Angeles.

By definition, flan is a molded custard that’s made with eggs and cream or milk. It is customarily served cold. When cheese, meat, fish or vegetables are introduced into the custard base, flan can also be served warm. Segal, however, likes the idea of a cold flan because it can be made days ahead. “In fact,” he says, “the flan tastes better if flavors are allowed to mellow for a day or two.”

Segal’s Goat-Cheese Flan can be served as a first course over baby greens, as prepared at Mabe, or, because of its dense texture, can be formed into finger or roll shapes as appetizers. Segal recommends a Chardonnay wine, California or French, to accompany Goat-Cheese Flan as a first course. For an entree to follow he suggests “a strong-flavored meat, perhaps roast lamb.”

CLAUDE SEGAL’S GOAT-CHEESE FLAN

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2 cloves garlic

2 red peppers

2 yellow peppers

1 (7-ounce) package fresh goat cheese

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2 tablespoons creme fraiche

6 green basil leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Olive oil

6 purple basil leaves

2 cups torn mixed baby lettuces

Finely cracked black pepper

Roast garlic and red and yellow peppers. Reserve 1/4 of the red and yellow peppers and dice. Set peppers aside separately.

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Place remaining red peppers with 1 roasted garlic clove in blender container and blend until pureed. Repeat with yellow peppers and remaining clove garlic. Set aside.

By hand, blend goat cheese until smooth. Add creme fraiche and mix until smooth. Add green basil and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and mix well. Stir in diced red and yellow peppers.

Grease 6 individual flan molds with olive oil. Place purple basil leaf in bottom of each mold.

Spoon goat cheese mixture into greased molds and cover with waxed paper. Refrigerate until well chilled and firm.

When ready to serve, sprinkle lettuces with 2 tablespoons olive oil and remaining lemon juice and toss.

Distribute among 6 salad plates. Unmold flans over lettuce.

Spoon or dot red and yellow pepper purees over each flan. Sprinkle with cracked pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Food styled by Stephanie Puddy; plate and napkin from The Pavilion at Tanner Market, Pasadena.

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