As spring moves into summer, now is the perfect time to consider how you can elevate your summer salads with your favourite cheeses.
There are many factors for deciding the best cheese for a salad – the primary being, what else is in the salad? If cheese is the hero of the dish, you want to make it a strong flavour, however if you are using another hero such as a meat, your cheese needs to complement that.
With a cheese-led salad, you can match the flavour profile to the cheese. For a Saint Agur blue cheese, consider a rocket leaf salad with walnuts and a balsamic glaze.
Leading with a salty grilled cheese such as halloumi allows you to build the flavour profile around it – consider adding strawberries and a balsamic glaze – or focus on vegetables such as roast peppers and spring onions and move toward a sweet chilli sauce.
Cooking cheese as the hero of the dish also adds another texture – try grilling slices of Chavroux or Caprice des Dieux on bread and serving with salad and roast tomatoes.
The classic cheese led salad is the caprese – featuring mozzarella, beef tomato, basil and a balsamic glaze. Italy being a very gastronomic country proves that simplicity doesn’t have to mean basic – by balancing flavour profiles in a simple dish of cheese, tomato, and herbs, it makes for an exceptional starter or main course.
Understanding the balance of flavours and textures is key to choosing the right cheese for your salad.
Rocket also pairs very well with a steak, however with two contrasting flavours, a subtle cheese such as gratings of Ferrari Parmigiano Reggiano complement both well without overpowering the dish. Serving a steak with a milder leaf such as a rocket, however, would be a good opportunity to incorporate a stronger soft cheese such as a Le Rustique Camembert or Brie.
A chicken salad is also a great opportunity to experiment with flavours – this could suit parmesan shavings, or with a mild leaf like a lettuce it could work well with some Saint Agur blue cheese.
A rice or pasta salad incorporates a lot of vegetables and is the perfect vessel for more cheese. Chop up some cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and spring onions and stir through pasta, rice or couscous. Add Islos feta, Caprice des Dieux, or even halloumi for an elevated salad.