Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Cheese for a Wednesday - pt 27 Fol Epi and the Return of the Cheese Ghost!
Another long week. Lots going on at work and at school. I am in need of a little comfort food! And I need cheese. Like, really NEED cheese. And then I realize that there is a beautiful wedge of Fol Epi in the fridge, waiting patiently for me to make grilled cheese sandwiches! It's been waiting patiently for over two weeks, which I realize is a bit blasphemous, but it was carefully wrapped by the cheesemonger, so I'm not too worried. So I go to the grocery store on my way home and pick up some bread from the deli counter, and select the reddest tomato available in early March at the grocery store, and head home to unwrap my Loire Valley cow's milk "swiss" cheese. Much to my surprise, my wedge of cheese has turned into a, well, a wedge with the end cut off! (Geometry buffs, please help me out here.) The Cheese Ghost is back!
Thankfully, the ghost had the forethought that if he ate all the cheese, he might get a severe lecture around dinnertime! There was plenty of cheese left to grate up to make some pretty yummy grilled cheese. Thick bottomed skillet on medium high heat, plenty of butter on the bread, a good 1/3 cup of shredded cheese, a few thin slices of tomato, and melt. I like to shred my cheese for grilled cheese because I think it melts more evenly. Everyone has their own method. Deelicious any way you melt it, and perfect with tomato soup, but I don't have to tell you that.
And Fol Epi is a great cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches. This is a high protein cow's milk cheese is aged for three months, and has a very creamy, rich, nutty flavor. It tastes a lot like a good Emmenthaler (swiss) cheese, but sweeter and with a little something special that I didn't figure out until I went searching for info on the web. The rind of this cheese is really grainy, which really threw me as I started grating it. It turns out that the rind is dusted with toasted wheat flour, adding "that something special" to the flavor of the cheese, and helps it stand out from the crowd. In fact, "Fol Epi" can be translated in French as "wild wheat stalk." I'm not sure how much extra flavor comes from this coating, but I think it definitely has some effect.
As an aside, I always check out Wikipedia for basic info on all my tasty finds, but I didn't find a single entry for Fol Epi in English, though the Europeans are all over it in French and German! Hmm. Anyone up for the challenge?
I sure hope the Cheese Ghost hasn't eaten up all the leftovers before I get home tonight! Sweet cheese dreams!