Sunday, March 6, 2011

Queso de Cabra con Miel (Goat Cheese with Honey)

Shortly after settling into my apartment in Manresa, Spain, one of my roommates and I set out to find our local vino y tapas bar. This was during my internship at Ferran Adrià’s R&D Institute, Fundació Alícia. Lucky enough, Las Vegas, was within two blocks. There I fast discover how gluten-free friendly Spain is. Written on the board on the bar wall was “Estrella Damm para Celiacos”, alongside with the featured local Catalan wines served. Beer for celiacs. Beautiful. The Spaniards proved to be very accommodating for gluten-free needs. Proudly so.

From the tapas menu, I ordered the “queso de cabra con miel,” the goat cheese with honey. What came out I found slightly unexpected: a pan-fried goat cheese with a rind and honey drizzled on top. This particular goat cheese, Leonora, resembled a smaller bucheron, which is easy to find at most American cheese mongers. The sweetness of the honey balanced the sharpness of the cheese. Very flavorful and rich. No bread or crackers needed. This tapa became an instant favorite of mine.
Later that day I told one of my other roommates (Ferran Adrià’s favorite Alícia chef intern) about this simple and amazing tapa. Guille told me the secret to pan-frying the cheese to maintain the shape and integrity is to harden and chill the cut cheese in the freezer. Then fry in minimal oil over a relatively high heat to sear a crust without melting and oozing into a mess. Plate, drizzle a little bit of good quality honey, and eat immediately. Guille is a genius and a great cook.
Anyone can make this easy tapa. No need to be a trained chef. The only technique you need to know is having the cheese cut to an appropriate thickness, and then freezing until hard. A non-stick fry pan helps, too.
  • Bucheron cheese, cut into ¼ - ½ inch thickness
  • Honey, good quality (great dish to splurge on truffle honey)
Place the sliced goat cheese separated/wrapped in wax paper or parchment. Allow to harden in freezer for at least 3o minutes. Heat a non-stick fry / sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, place a little bit of oil (of your choice). Remove cheese from freezer, unwrap, and place in fry pan. Sear for about 1-2 minutes, when a golden brown crust forms. Flip. Sear other side. Serve on plate. Drizzle honey. Eat immediately. Enjoy. Buen provecho!
-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


Jenny said...

Yu-um! This looks so good! I'm trying to avoid dairy right now to heal my digestive system, but I think I can handle goat dairy okay. This recipe is very tempting!

Erin Swing said...

Goat milk is lactose free, so it may be easier on your GI track. Hopefully! This dish may not be the prettiest, but it is easy, yummy, and guaranteed to please.