Marinated Herbed Cheese
by Kate Heyhoe
Categories: appetizer, other
Keywords: cream cheese, feta, garlic, herbs, olive oil, peppercorn
I love having a jar of this robust, marinated soft cheese around for quick snacks and to jazz up other recipes. The oil itself is a culinary treat and can be used wherever a fruity, herb-infused olive oil is called for.
There is an added bonus to this recipe. While goat cheese is available in most places of the country, there are still some areas where it is hard to find. This recipe blends the more readily available feta cheese with cream cheese, then marinates them in fruity olive oil and fresh herbs. It is not an exact replica of goat cheese, but it is delicious in itself and is an acceptable substitute for the Montrachet-type of goat cheese called for in many recipes, for it provides a similarly tart and pungent flavor. and unlike goat cheese which has a short shelf life, this cheese may be kept refrigerated in its marinade for as long as 6 weeks.
- 4 ounces regular cream cheese
- 4 ounces feta cheese (see Note)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3/4 cup or more extra virgin olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or marjoram
- 6 to 10 whole black peppercornsNote: Taste the feta before you buy it. Some are extremely salty, which will overpower this mixture. French feta and Bulgarian feta are usually less salty than Greek feta, but not always. Sample different ones until you find a feta that is somewhat creamy, with a pleasantly salty taste.
In a food processor, thoroughly blend the cheeses and garlic cloves to form a smooth paste. Line a mold, or 2 to 4 small molds, with damp cheese cloth or plastic wrap. For example, you may use small ramekins, Chinese teacups, small tins or the inverted cover of a butter dish. with a spatula, spoon the cheese mixture into the lined mold(s) and smooth out the surface. Refrigerate until firm.
Select a wide-mouthed, air-tight jar or other container, one just large enough to hold about 2 cups of liquid. Remove the cheese from the molds and drop the cheese pieces into the jar (cut them up if too big). Insert the fresh herbs and peppercorns along the sides of the jar. Pour in enough oil to cover the cheese and herbs completely. Seal the jar and refrigerate for at least 1 week before using.
Place small blocks of the marinated cheese on flavorful greens, using the olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Or, serve the cheese with toasted crostini and sun dried tomatoes. Melt the cheese with a bit of cream and use it as a spunky herbed cream sauce. Once you have it on hand, you'll find a zillion ways to use this zesty marinated cheese.
© 1997, Katherine Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007