Recipe: Radish chive fromage frais
"Homemade cheese with the taste of mild ricotta and a breeze to make – what could be better?" says Linda Haynes. "Fromage frais is a fresh, low-fat unripened cheese with a mousse-like texture and high moisture content. Without any additions, it will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator. Add the radish and chives just before serving, as they tend to overpower the cheese after a few hours." Serve on fresh baguette.
6 cups whole milk
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped radish
2 tbsp lightly packed finely chopped chives
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste
Fromage frais: Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Cover and let sit for 2 hours.
Line a fine sieve with two layers of cheesecloth. Pour liquid, which looks curdled, into sieve. The curds (solids) will stay in the cheesecloth, and the whey (liquid) can be discarded.
Sprinkle the curds with the salt and use the cheesecloth to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Stop squeezing when the cheese starts to come through the cheesecloth. (If you squeeze too long and hard, the end product will be grainy.) Suspend the cheese in the cheesecloth in a bowl to allow more whey to drain and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the cheesecloth and refrigerate until ready to use. (Before using, discard any liquid that drains from the cheese.)
Seasonings: Place the fromage frais in a bowl and fold in the radish, chives and pepper. Season with salt to taste.
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
• Fromage frais is terrific as a base for poached or smoked salmon canapés.
• You can also create a healthy, yummy vegetarian sandwich by spreading a generous layer of fromage frais on multigrain bread, then topping it with thinly sliced cucumber, grated carrot, cooked beet slices, crunchy lettuce and a slice of ripe tomato.
• To turn this recipe into a dip, whisk in a little low-fat milk.
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Excerpted from Two Dishes: Mother and Daughter – Two Cooks, Two Lifestyles, Two Takes. (McClelland & Stewart, October 2009). Top photo by Virginia Macdonald.