GOAT CHEESE RECIPES
You know you’re having a good day when Culture Cheese Magazine and Goat Cheeses of France send you two – very generous portions of – French goat cheese. We were asked to both incorporate them into a recipe and pair them with a homemade condiment, so we rolled up our sleeves and started cooking.
On one hand, we had the Tomme de Chèvre Bethmale [tohm duh sheh-vruh bett-mahl]: an aged, washed rind cheese with a semi-soft, silky paste and an earthy aroma, mixing smoky, meaty flavours with grassy notes.
On the other hand, we had the Valençay [vah-lahn-say]: a truncated pyramid-shaped cheese with an ash rind, creamy texture with tangy, woody notes and a hazelnut finish.
Fun fact: Story has it that the Valençay was originally a perfectly formed pyramid, but that Napoleon angrily asked to chop the top off, upon his return from a failed military campaign in Egypt.
In France, many believe that a cheese should be paired with fruits from the same region. For instance, Camembert should be enjoyed with green apple jelly, Comté with chestnut jam and tommes from Basque with black cherry or green tomato jam.
When we received our tomme de chèvre from the Midi-Pyrénées region (not too far from the Basque Land), we immediately thought of all the green tomatoes still (phew!) available at our local farmers market.
– 2 pounds of green tomatoes
– 1 cup of sugar
– 1 lemon
– ¼ of a cup of minced ginger
– Bread (ours came from She Wolf Bakery)
Step 1. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces and mix them with the sugar in a bowl. Cover with cellophane and let it rest for 24 hours.
Step 2. Peel the lemon. Boil the peel in water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse.
Step 3. Chop the ginger very finely.
Step 4. In a very large saucepan, place the lemon peel, its pulp, the chopped green tomatoes and the minced ginger.
Step 5. Boil the uncovered saucepan until the jam sets. Time of boil varies depending on the ripeness and size of your pieces. We boiled ours for approximately 2 hours. Once ready, let it cool.
Step 6. Serve chilled at room temperature – and enjoy !
The first time we ever tested this recipe was a couple of years ago, on L’île d’Yeu (a little French island on the Atlantic Ocean near Vendée). We invited friends and neighbours for « l’apéro » and served this delicious thin-crust pizza. We have a confession (and please don’t judge us !): we didn’t make the dough. Instead we just asked our local pizzaria. This is a good tip for anyone who doesn’t have the time, energy or skills : go to your local pizza place and just ask for a ball of uncooked dough to take home.
We used spicy honey, which you’d have to prepare at least 24 hours ahead. It’s always handy to have a jar in your cupboard as perfectly complements any soft or hard goat cheese (and always empresses guests !). Drizzle it over your cheese and add bits of chillies to make it more colourful.
For the spicy honey you’ll need to :
– Chop a handful of fresh chillies
– Throw them into a jar of liquid honey
– And let it rest for at least 24 hours
For the pizzeta you’ll need :
– 1 ball of pizza dough (ours was from Emily)
– 3 zucchinis (for a colourful pizza : we’ve opted for 2 yellow ones and 1 green)
– 1 Valençay cheese (but you can also substitute it with another soft goat cheese)
– 2 tablespoon of crème fraîche
– 1 garlic clove
– Spicy honey
– A drizzle of olive oil
– A pinch of salt and pepper
Step 1. Using a vegetable peeler or a V-slicer and working from top to bottom, slice zucchini into ribbons. Mix the ribbons in a bowl with the chopped garlic clove, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Step 2. Roll the dough out and stretch it to make 1 big pizza. Lift it onto a baking sheet and spread it out flat.
Step 3. Spoon the crème fraîche into the middle and spread it around. Cut the Valencay in chunks (Napoleon style) and place them over the crème fraîche.
Step 4. Place the zucchinis on top of the pizza and arrange them as you like. We just threw them over everything to give it a rustic look.
Step 5. Place it in pre-heated oven at 350F for approximately 40min (timing is relative to your oven).
Step 6. Once cooked and out of the oven, add drizzle some spicy honey on it.
Bon App’ !