Spring is the season for new beginnings and as this is my first post for foodlovers.co.nz it feels right to feature my first taste of asparagus for the new year.
I love how seasonal asparagus is, and how its brief appearance reminds us of the soil and the seasons. I love this too about cheese, and in particular artisan cheese. It speaks of place and breed and particularity.
My name is Lucy Hoffman and the love of cheese is what I write about on my blog lifeandcheese.com, and its what I am delighted to share with you, my new foodie friends, on foodlovers.co.nz. I’m on a mission to learn more about cheese and to spread the love of artisan, raw milk and downright delicious cheeses.
I found this recipe when researching a little gem of a cheese called cabécou (pronounced ka-be-coo) and translated it from French care of Babelfish.
Cabécou du Perigord
Cabécou is a tiny disc of a cheese, only 5 cm in diameter. It is soft and pale and oh so young. When cut, you can see it aging towards the centre. It has a smattering of white mould on its delicate lemony surface.
Cabécou is made from goats milk and comes from the Midi-Pyrénées region of southern France. I got this little darling at le Marche Francais in Wellington. They are about $4 each.
Le Marche Francais
Asparagus loves all things lemony, so the lemon zing of goat’s cheese is a perfect match. I reckon you could use any goat’s cheese for this, such as a chevre or other log shaped cheese. If you’re going to use goat’s feta then I would heartily recommend soaking it for 10 minutes in milk to get rid of the saltiness. I’ve written about this on Lifeandcheese.
Fantastic feta – why so many choices?
If you haven’t had roasted or grilled asparagus you are in for a treat. Sweet flavours develop rather that the sometimes sock-like taste it can get when boiled. The tanginess of the goats cheese and the caramels of the grilled parmesan form a cheesey sauce for the asparagus. You’ll need bread, ‘cos believe me you will want to lick every bit off the plate.
I used half a cabécou each for a starter for 4 or you could use one per person for a lunch or light dinner with salad and bread.
Grilled goats cheese and asparagus
2 cabécou – or use about 200g of goats cheese
1-2 bunches of slender green asparagus
50 g of Parmesan cheese shavings
Preheat oven to 210° C. Snap ends off the asparagus. Lay them in a single layer in a roasting pan and give them a good slosh of olive oil, roll them around to coat. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking them about 5 minutes in. You want them to colour ever so slightly.
Remove from the oven and turn the oven on the grill.
Cut the cabécou in half to make two discs, or slice your chevre into rounds. Place on top of the asparagus. I did mine on separate plates, but you could do it on a single oblong platter. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the parmesan over the cheese. Aim for a good covering of parmesan and make sure it spills over the edge for artful, crunchy bits. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden. About 3-5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread, a simple salad and Sauvignan Blanc. Bon appetit!
Got any questions about cheese? Post on the forums here or come on over to Lifeandcheese.com, I’d love to help answer them.
*This is a Nathalie Valmary recipe, excerpt from “Pure goat” published by MINERVA. Reproduced on Cabécou du Perigord