Cheese, cheese, cheese. Here it goes down, down into my belly.
I haven't found any good cheese shops on the West Side, where I live, but have sampled the goods from the Cheesestore of Silverlake (amazing selection), and the Artisan Cheese Gallery on Ventura (outstanding grilled sandwiches, dripping with melty dairy goodness). In absence of "legitimate" cheese shops like this, I do just fine with Whole Food's extensive cheese section, and pick up something new every visit.
One of my more interesting finds could choke a cow with its pungency. Ciresa taleggio is a semi-soft cow's milk cheese with a musty rind. Imagine brie with the smell of the underside of a fallen log in a marshland. Straight, or even on crackers, it's too strong for me to stand.
But when cooked, a magical chemical process occurs. The flavors mellow slightly, and add a great punch to your dishes. I've enjoyed it blended with regular cheddar in a quesadilla. But the best delivery system is via omelet, where it plays off the blandness and fluffy texture of the eggs.
I made this one for lunch the other day. It came out perfectly light and golden. The trick is slower, lower cooking. The stuff in the background is applesauce. Zero points for presentation, but the sweetness offsets the sour and salt from the yolks and cheese. I always eat my omelets this way now.
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups fresh spinach, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup shredded muenster
1/8 cup taleggio (produced by Ciresa)
2 eggs, whisked
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a small skillet or omelet pan.
- Pour in the eggs, tilting the pan so they cover the bottom evenly.
- Immediately spread spinach evenly over eggs, and sprinkle both cheeses over the spinach.
- Cook 4-5 minutes, or until top of eggs are just becoming firm. Flip one side over the other, and move to a plate.