Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Goat Cheese with Roasted Garlic and Herbs
Not too long ago I discovered our local grocer had begun carrying goat milk for a local farm. Bolstered by my successful attempt at paneer last year, I felt confident in my foray into this herbed, spreadable cheese. You will be amazed at how simple it really it.
The recipe is my own.
Yields about 3/4 to 1 cup
1 qt goat milk (whole preferred)
1 - 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp Herbes de provence
2 tsp combination of fresh savory, basil rosemary, fennel, lavender and thyme
Line a sieve with several layers of cheesecloth. Set aside the sieve in a clean dry sink.
Pour the goat milk into a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat over medium high heat until the milk reaches a gentle simmer. Using a candy thermometer, continue to heat the milk until it reaches about 180 degrees. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon juice slowly, one tbsp at a time. The milk will begin to form a curdle and separate from the whey. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until all of the milk has curdled, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve to drain off the whey. When the cheese has cooled (about 20 minutes), tie the corners of the cheesecloth around the handle of a wooden spoon and suspend over a pot or the sink for about an hour, allowing any remaining whey to drain.
Spoon the soft cheese onto a clean cutting board or large plate. Gentle fold in the mashed, roasted garlic, salt and herbs. Alter seasonings to taste.
Serve immediately or store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.
This cheese may not be the creamy decadence you find at your cheese monger, but hey! You made it yourself! I kept the garlic and herbs on the low end to allow the pungency of the goat cheese to really shine through. And shine it did! While I couldn't even get Ross to try the spreadable bliss, a friend who had never tried goat cheese was smitten with the smooth texture and mellow herb spiked flavor. The roasted garlic added a sweet complexity without overpowering (I limited myself to one fat, caramelize clove), and the menagerie or herbs danced across the tongue. I would highly recommend using fresh herbs as the dried variation can lend a gritty mouth-feel until given enough time to soften from the moisture of the cheese...but by that time the creaminess of the cheese itself has already begun to diminish. This is a dish best served within hours after making.