written by: MARY BROWN MALOUF photos by: ADAM FINKLE
Spring has sprung and for many of us that means a heightened desire for fresher, more flavor-forward foods. Enter goat cheese. Its farmyard aroma, creamy texture and tangy taste complements many foods from meat to fruit to vegetables, making it a go-to ingredient for chefs this season and throughout the year.
Chevre is what most of us think of when we say “goat cheese.” People have been making this fresh cheese for thousands of years. Goats were domesticated before cows and cheese keeps longer than milk, especially when treated with salt, so chevre ( French for she-goat) was the perfect food for nomads in the Middle East. It is one of the most versatile of cheeses—chefs crumble it on salads, stuff it in chicken, mix it with herbs and oil to make a spread, coat it in crumbs and bake it, even add sugar and egg to make goat cheesecake. Find it in logs, tubs or the traditional French crottin— a cake of cheese about 2-3 ounces.
Let’s Talk Tortas
Chevre layered with other foods is called a torta. They’re easy and impressive to make and allow for nearly endless improvisation. Chopped smoked salmon? Chopped dried apricots? Chopped sundried tomatoes? You get the idea.
- Cut a log of goat cheese into one-inch slices. Drain excess oil from pesto, then reassemble the log with pesto between slices. Wrap in plastic and chill.
- Line a mini loaf pan with plastic wrap, then alternate layers of softened goat cheese with tapenade. Chill until firm.
- Line a small terrine mold with plastic wrap. Mix equal parts cream cheese and goat cheese with crushed oregano, then layer the cheese with drained pimentos. Chill until firm.
- Cut a crottin in half horizontally. Thickly spread your choice of filling on the bottom half, then replace the top. Chill until firm.