Spring is the best time to make goat cheese, which means that we're at the height of the season to eat it. Now, more than ever, you can taste a bright, piquant freshness in some of the younger, smaller format goats that were made in the past month or so, due in large part to a grass-fed diet that this time of year affords.
But what are new ways that you can implement goat cheese into your culinary repertoire?
A few brief goat facts:
On the whole, goat milk is lower in fat than cow or sheep milk. And because fat content in cheese is measured in parts per dry matter and most goat cheeses are young (meaning high in moisture and therefore low in dry matter), goat cheeses end up being lower in fat, too. We're not ones to advocate for the advantages of low fat cheese, but the lightness of many goat cheeses are perfect for warmer months when you feel like eating foods that won't weigh you down.
We praise culinary pioneers like Alice Waters pretty frequently, who redirected the trend in American food culture in the 1980's with her embrace of the now-ubiquitous mesclun greens and goat cheese salad. It's no wonder that the icons of California goat cheesemaking genius are still around at the farms she supported like Redwood Hill Farm, Coach Farm, and Cypress Grove.
But what are some new ways to reinvigorate the tried-and-true implementations of goat cheese?
Here at The Kitchn, we've showcased beautiful marriages between goat cheese and the sweetness of beets, the savory vegetal quality of asparagus, and the savory-sweetness of butternut squash.
Here are some new ways to eat your goats:
- Make a goat cheese white pizza on the grill instead of on your stone in the oven. When the crust is finished and the cheese has melted, remove from the grill and add fresh arugula dressed with truffle oil and lemon.
- Try making a goat cheese torta-- a classic in Italy but not seen as often here-- layering goat cheese whipped up with some butter, fig jam, and a mint and parsley pesto. You can find the recipe in the Babbo cookbook or at Martha Stewart, where the chef from Sfoglia restaurant shared his recipe.
- Especially if you've been growing your own herbs for gardening month, try fried sage and goat cheese quesadillas for appetizers in a pinch for guests.
- Blend goat cheese with greek yogurt, toasted almonds, and herbs of your choice (mint or dill would be especially good) for a zingy alternative to a raita. Serve alongside roast chicken, braised lamb shanks, or falafel.
- Try substituting goat cheese for the ricotta in your favorite ricotta pancake recipe. And be sure to add plenty of honey and lemon zest.
What are your new ideas for using goat cheese?
Related: Recipe: Meyer Lemon Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds, and Goat Cheese
(Image: Flickr user David Reece licensed under Creative Commons)