I am a fiend for cheeses, in general the stinkier the better. That barnyardy funk that some cheeses acquire after being washed with brandy or wine and stored away in a cave? It draws me like the aroma of truffles or baking bread, a powerful harbinger of good tastes to come.
But recently I’ve been revisiting an old cheese friend that is not at all stinky and I’m finding it mighty good too. At our Farmers Market, Judy Schad of Capriole Farms (who does sell an amazing cheese called Mont St. Francis for those moments when only funk will do) has had bags of the adorable little cheeses that she calls chevre aperitifs. No bigger than thimbles, the aperitifs are perfect little mouthfuls of goaty tang. Judy taught me a long time ago that the best way to enjoy them is to marinate them in fruity olive oil and herbs with a little garlic, and when they’ve soaked up all the good flavor, to serve them with some crusty bread.
Never one to ignore a master’s advice, that’s what I’ve done. If you can’t get chevre aperitifs, any small goat cheeses will do for this recipe. Be sure to save the oil when the cheese is gone and use it for salad dressing. Fantastic.
(I originally wrote about Capriole Farms here, and about my near-religious experience this summer with their Old Kentucky Tomme and a wedge of sweet watermelon here. Feed Me Drink Me Girl up in Indy has also had Capriole cheese on her mind this summer.)
Judy Schad’s Herbed Marinated Goat Cheese
Chevre apéritifs or other small fresh goat cheeses
Several roasted garlic cloves
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
good olive oil, or olive oil/canola oil mix
Place cheese in a sterile jar with garlic, basil, thyme, and rosemary.
Cover with oil. Put top on jar and refrigerate. Allow to marinate for at least a week for cheese to absorb oil and flavor from herbs and garlic.
Refrigerated, the cheese should be fine for several months. Allow to come to room temperature before use and serve as an appetizer or light lunch with crusty baguette and olives on the side, or on a salad.
8 Comments Add yours
Sounds just fantastic to me. I like cheese in any form. I might be able to give up meat, but cheese, never!
Love your photos too.
You’ve discovered one of my personal favorites! I love those Capriole thimbles — and since they freeze, I make sure I have a bag or two in the freezer for just this very thing.
You can get a great variety of bale jars at Cost Plus in Indianapolis. I do the marinated goat cheese just as you do but sometimes add some color like sundried tomato and whole fresh herbs (like thyme and rosemary). I put whole sprigs of fresh herbs down the side of the jar to look nice. It’s a perfect hostess gift or great to take to a dinner party. I also keep a jar for myself in the fridge (the EVOO will go solid) as a handy way to have snacks afterwork or quick snacks when people come over. I can have a few people over at the last minute (sometimes before a show since I live close to Clowes) and all I need to do is take the goat cheese jar out of the fridge earlier in the day — and add some fresh bread. (I also like it in dipping bowls with basalmic vinegrette and parmesan cheese). When you’re done, put any leftover olives, or other marinated treats (I found caper berries in there once) back in the jar with the goat cheese, add more cheese and olive oil and you’re ready for next time. (Warning — this will only keep for about six months.)
Also, the oil, and little bits of goat cheese at the bottom of the jar are great in salad dressings.
I couldn’t imagine living without the sense of smell, it triggers so many memories and emotions. In any case, I marinate fresh mozzarella all the time, but have never tried doing it with chevre. And I also use the leftover oil for salad dressing when the cheese is gone. Just add some fresh lemon juice and you’re good to go. I can’t wait to try this! Beautiful close-up photo, by the way.
Good suggestions, all! Cheese may be my favorite food, Kalyn. I *have* given up meat for the most part, but cheese is essential! Renee, great idea to add leftover olives (I am also an olive fiend.) Lisa, I marnate mozzarella for antipasto plates, but haven’t done it like this. Excellent suggestion. A couple of our local farms make killer fresh mozzarella.
hi christine, that chevre looks divine…i’m totally of the school of thought that the more barnyardy the funk, the better 😉
That infused oil and cheese looks delicious. We love all of cheeses that Capriole makes.
I just wanted to remind everybody to use safe food handling techniques when making infused oils. There is a small but very real chance of having a nasty run in with botulism toxin. Please have a look at the following link (with which I pesonally have no association) for a pretty good write-up of the potential risks and how to minimize them:
p.s. Please give Zoe a hug from me. She has such a look of wisdom about her.
Hi J — Long live funk!
Matt, thanks! I think about this every time I make garlic confit, because I know I don’t get the oil hot enough. I just always refrigerate and use it quickly. I was assuming refrigeration with the cheese, but thanks for spelling out why it’s important. That web site is good (but scary!)
your food photography is captivating