Goat cheese comes in many delicious forms, the most common being a soft, tangy cheese that is easy to spread and very versatile, lower in fat and higher in protein than cow’s milk. These ideas focus on how to use the common, soft variety of goat cheese that comes in either a pyramid or a log, with herbs or plain.
It is worth mentioning, however, that there are some spectacularly mellow, semi-soft goat cheeses from Spain, such as a cheese called Drunken Goat, which is a sweet and smooth artisan cheese with a smooth rind soaked in wine and aged about 75 days. Other specialty goat cheeses can be applewood smoked, rubbed with herbs and aged, or even cheddar cheeses made with goat’s milk.
1. Use in Place of Cream Cheese on Crackers as an Appetizers
Goat cheese is mild and tangy, and it can take the heat off of spicy foods and is lower calorie than cream cheese. Spread it on a cracker and top with herbs or a dab of fresh mango chutney.
To spice up plain goat cheese and crackers, try rolling the cheese balls, logs or pyramids in herb blends before serving. An example would be to create a blend of 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of cardamon, a pinch of ground cloves, and a pinch of salt and roll the cheese in it. Serve with crackers. Use any preferred herb blend.
2. Dollop as a Garnish in the Center of a Bowl of Soup
A dollop can also go into warm soups instead of heavier cheeses. It adds an especially nice flavor to tomato soups with fresh basil. Crumble over roasted tomatoes with garlic and have as a side dish. Alternatively, it is possible to create a warm goat cheese fondue by combining a round of cheese, roasted tomato sauce, garlic, and herbs and baking it in a ramekin or baking dish at 500 degrees for 6 minutes. Serve with toasted slices of bread.
3. Crumble into a Salad Instead of Feta Cheese
In a recipe that calls for feta cheese, try using goat cheese instead. As an example, goat cheese will blend well in salads with citrus or in salads with garlic and basil. As a tasty salad option, try tossing a package of mixed greens with a vinaigrette made of 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon of lime zest, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, and one teaspoon of orange zest, 1/4 cup of orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Crumble goat cheese over the salad and add orange segments.
4. Use on Pizza Instead of Mozzarella
Goat cheese is a great alternative to mozzarella on a pizza. It goes well with the tomato and garlic of the sauce, and it is a fresh alternative for people who are allergic to cow’s milk. Use a pizza dough from the bakery section of the grocery store for a quick alternative to making your own pizza dough.
5. Top Steaks with Goat Cheese and Broil
Goat cheese is great topping a nice thick filet, and the recipe is fairly easy. Pan fry seasoned steaks in butter until they have cooked to the desired level, which is generally 3 minutes for medium rare. Once cooked, place steaks onto a baking sheet and crumble the goat cheese over them. Bake under a broiler until cheese is melted, roughly 1 minute. These can be served as is, or drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction. To make a balsamic vinegar reduction, just heat 1 cup of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar over medium-high heat until it is thickened and reduced, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes.
These are some easy, quick ways to incorporate basic goat cheese into your recipes. If you have the opportunity, try some of the specialty goat cheeses and see how you can spice up party menus and simple dinners alike.