Last year’s April 18th, 2015 marked the beginning of a tradition. It was on this day that the non-profit organization Oldways spearheaded a national event as part of the Cheese of Choice Coalition for raw milk cheeses. It was such a pleasure to know that cheese mongers and cheese industry professionals across the country had come together to spread the word of the raw milk curd. I personally had a wonderful time crafting a pairing menu that would let the raw milk cheese shine. Raw milk has not been heat treated, so it is preserved of all its natural flavor. The true meaning of terroir shines on the raw milk cheese plate. This national day provides an excellent platform for promoting the benefits of raw milk cheeses, both their flavor profile and their healthy microbiological landscape.
The evening took place in the mezzanine at 61 Local, one of my favorite venues for cheese events. The cheeses were sourced from Saxelby Cheesemongers, and are all produced in the Northeast. Below are two recipes from the tasting.
Roasted Potato and Mushroom Confit with Fresh Tatsoi
served with Vulto Creamery’s Miranda
Roasted fingerling potatoes
- 1 lb fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 475º F, dress the potatoes in a bowl with olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay on baking sheets and let roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until skin is crispy and the inside is soft.
makes 2 cups
active time: 30 min
- 1 lb (455 g) assorted wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, Chanterelles, morels, black trumpet) medium in size
- 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 8 large garlic cloves b peeled and halved
- 12 large sage leaves
- 4 rosemary sprigs
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 8 winter savory sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons whole black Tellicherry peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons aged sherry wine vinegar
Brush the mushrooms clean and trim the stems, but keep the mushrooms whole. Set aside. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. (I recommend a 12-3 skillet.)
Add 1/3 cup of oil and the mushrooms, toss carefully, and sauté undisturbed for 2 minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown. Toss again and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are golden-brown, about 4 to 5 minutes, tossing only from time to time. Add the garlic pieces and sauté for 1 minute, until the garlic is golden but not brown.
Reduce heat to medium, add the balance of the oil and the herbs and peppercorns, and gently heat until the oil reaches 170ºF (80ºC) (use a thermometer).
Once the oil has reached the desired temperature, continue poaching the mushrooms for 6 to 7 minutes, maintaining the temperature at 170ºF (80ºC), until the herbs are crisp and have turned a shade darker.
Transfer the mushrooms, herbs and oil into a large bowl. Stir in the salt and vinegar and allow to cool to room temperature. To serve, scoop out the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl.
Plating The Dish
- One bunch fresh tatsoi, destemmed and washed
- Warm roasted potatoes and mushroom confit, mixed together
- 1 ounce wedges of Miranda cheese, up to 1 pound of cheese
Lay the fresh tatsoi down as a bed for the potato and confit mix. Scoop one quarter cup on top of the tastoi. Place a beautiful wedge or two of Miranda opposite the vegetables. You can plate this as a large platter or as individual tasting portions.
Fresh Microgreens with Edible Flowers and Balsamic Reduction
served with Twig Farm Goat Tomme
- 1/2 pound fresh microgreens from the farmers market (pea shoots are early in the year, but look forward to many varieties as the season progesses)
- 15 to 30 edible flowers (nasturtiums are the most prevalent at the beginning of the season)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 ounce portions of Twig Far
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 lemon rind, zested
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoons honey
- salt and pepper
Blend the bottom five ingredients together for a simple vinaigrette. Dip the Nasturtiums in ice cold water to freshen them up and rinse them of any lingering insects from the garden. I prefer to keep them whole, so that when you bite into one in the salad, you get a wondrous vegetal, honey-like flavor. Place clean microgreens and nasturtiums in a bowl.
Meanwhile, place the balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup honey in a small saucepan and let reduce until thickened. You’ll be able to tell it is the proper texture when you run your spoon along the bottom of the pan and the reduction separates with a clean line. Attention! Your kitchen will be smoky and vinegar-y when making this.
Gently toss the greens and flowers with the vinaigrette. Again, this dish can be served as a party board or as an individual serving. To make an accent with the balsamic reduction, you can place a spoonful on the board/plate and pull it in a half circle.