Really, who doesn’t like cheese? Silly question—everyone seems to in one form or another. Chefs often joke that if we want to sell a dish, just add cheese!

In my quest to come up with cheese-oriented dishes for this column, I decided to develop recipes in which cheese becomes the main focus of the dish, from appetizer to dessert, with proper accompaniments and flavor pairings.
The first recipe is a salad of greens, sliced pears, and crostini topped with a melted, Italian goat cheese called Nocetto di Capra. It’s a perfect example of a soft, ripened cheese, slightly sweet, with a velvety texture. Next is the sautéed gnocchi with a cheese sauce made from Fontina, a semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese that becomes more pungent as it ages. It’s an Italian favorite for its melting abilities. The cheese course is a little nontraditional, served with stewed fruit and oatmeal and hazelnut crisps—both perfect accompaniments to the Australian Roaring Forties Blue Cheese, which has honey notes, and is super creamy from being aged in wax.

Lastly, I picked a trifle of pound cake, caramelized peaches, and mascarpone cheese for dessert. Mascarpone is a cultured cheese, produced without aging or introducing bacteria. Sweet but tangy, it’s a great substitute for traditional pastry cream. So there you have it—four very different dishes but all with a chef’s best secret in common.


Andrew Evans is the chef at Easton’s Thai Ki.

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