Archive for February, 2011

The Cheese Does Not Stand Alone

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Grate news: There are over 670 types of cheese.

Green Bay having recently won the Super Bowl, what better time to focus on cheese?  No, not those giant wedges of Swiss that Packer fans (and Seth as a young ‘un) put on their heads, but the many cheese choices that we can now put on our salads—to make them super bowls in their own right.

The cheese world has come a long way since my childhood when my favorite type was Velveeta—now outed as a “pasteurized prepared cheese product.” I also loved Kraft parmesan, that powdery, strange-smelling stuff that I shook from the iconic green can onto my spaghetti.

But now there are over 670 types of cheese. They may be soft or hard; sharp or mild; yellow, white or orange; grated, cubed, shredded or sliced. In salads, they offer extra texture, taste and calcium.  Unfortunately, they can also provide extra calories and saturated fat. Alas, the Vermont cheddar (shout-out to Mel!) that I love to grate onto my mixed greens w/toasted pistachios, chopped red onion and sliced granny smith apples has 120 calories/ounce.  The good news is that feta and goat cheeses each have less than 80 calories/ounce.

The first cheese I remember on salads were the Swiss strips on the Julienne. Then came the freshly grated (not Kraft-canned) parmesan on the Caesar.  Other frequent duos now include blue cheese/gorgonzola on Cobbs, feta on Greeks (salads, that is) and cheddar/Monterey Jack on Southwesterns.

What about brie in a salad?  I wasn’t crazy about it in Sopraffina’s Parisian salad.  Then they wisely bid those greens adieu to make way for the current seasonal favorite:  the BLT salad.  It’s composed of romaine lettuce, bacon, cherry tomatoes, sliced egg, croutons, Ranch dressing—and asiago.  Sandwich morphs into salad, then adds some tangy cheese; good moove,  Sopraffina!

Yours till the asiagos,
NJL

Added 3/1/11:   Maurine has sent me an e-mail suggesting that, in honor of our new mayor-elect, we should have a salad with rahm-ain lettuce or rahm-ano cheese!