Two ways to cook . . . goat’s cheese
Classic goat’s cheese and beetroot get a crisp coating, and grilled radicchio and pomegranate are more unusual partners for the cheese
Beetroot and goat’s cheese strudel with red onion marmalade and Grilled radicchio with St Tola goat’s cheese, pistachios and pomegranate. Photographs: Harry Weir
Vanessa’s way... beetroot and goat’s cheese strudel with red onion marmalade
I will always consider a goat’s cheese starter as one of my menu choices, mainly because I love seeing and tasting alternative ways to serve it. My personal favourites are goat’s cheese with Mediterranean vegetables in summer, or sweet potato in winter, and often our homemade pizzas include spinach and goat’s cheese.
Goat’s cheese and beetroot are delicious in a salad, but I love the nuttiness of goat’s cheese when it is baked, especially as a vegetarian main course when everyone else is getting something hot. A little scrape of sweet and sticky red onion marmalade makes it more special.
We’re incredibly fortunate in Ireland to have the best green pastures on the planet, which feed our animals and ensure they produce the best milk. This, in turn, goes towards making our internationally recognised cheese. Goat’s cheese is one that has stood the test of time, but has actually suffered due to its popularity. It has become very common as a vegetarian option, and in recent times has garnered bad press simply because of its overuse.
But I’m giving it a much needed re-vamp here. I’ve avoided the classic goat’s cheese/beetroot combination and gone for grilled radicchio, pomegranate and pistachio. Radicchio is a leaf chicory and as it’s quite bitter, it benefits from grilling, as well as a little sprinkle of sugar. The pomegranate adds another level of fruitiness and sweetness to counteract the bitterness, and with the saltiness of the cheese and pistachio nuts, the flavour balance is perfect.
Siobhan Ní Ghairbhith and John Harrington have been running Inagh farm and the production of St Tola goat’s cheese since 1999, and their hard work, dedication and consistency have kept their reputation at the forefront of Irish cheese production. Long may it last.