Here's a wonderful little nosh for cheese lovers that's easy to make. Treat yourself to an artful melange of flavors when the mood strikes; serve with antipasti, or give as a hostess gift!
When you're done with the cheese, you have an exceptional flavored oil that is perfect for salad dressing or for dipping pieces of crusty French bread.
Oil Cured Cheese with Fresh Herbs
(makes a one- pint jar)
8 oz. hard or semi-hard cheese*, cubed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed with the side of a chef's knife to release flavor
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Step 1: With the back edge of a chef's knife, lightly bruise the herbs on a cutting board to release the essential oils.
Step 2: In a one-pint sterilized mason jar, stir together oil, smoked paprika, crushed pepper and garlic.
Step 3: Add herbs, then cheese. Turn jar upside-down for 1 minute to distribute oil.
Step 4: Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.
*some cheeses that work well are parmesan (not Reggiano), dry jack, gruyere, gouda, iberico, and manchego.