Cheese is not just, literally, pure delight in the form of a slice on a sandwich or an entire cheese plate. Cheese is the commander of a vast army of dishes without which they simply would not exist. Imagine corny macaroni and cheese. Now take away the cheese. But there are recipes about which you can say: no cheese – no dish. Let’s talk about them.
Many national recipes for pies, meat, vegetable dishes and desserts appeared, often thanks to local, traditional for one or another people, cheeses. And became world hits. Let’s start with the famous pies.
Cheese for khachapuri, pies, quiche
Many pies with a local character have culinary value because of the flavor and texture of a certain type of cheese. But that’s also the problem. What if you don’t have one, can you find a substitute? I, for example, adore Georgian khachapuri pies. Everything about them is simple and incredibly harmonious. The combination of the unctuous flavor of freshly baked dough with a meltingly salty and sour cheese filling. Hot khachapuri from the frying pan or from the oven is a masterpiece of Georgian cuisine. It is based on suluguni, a brine Georgian cheese.
But it is not easy to find real Georgian suluguni. It is possible to find a suitable substitute by combining several similar cheeses. Mozzarella, brynza and adygeya are the most similar to suluguni in their characteristics.
Generally speaking, in all pies where cheese is present, it’s not just its flavor that matters. Equally important is how it melts. Hard and semi-hard cheeses like Russian and Dutch are good. The pie can be with vegetables, meat or fish, and grated cheese adds an original flavor. The main thing is to eat it hot, not to wait for it to cool.Lorraine quiche – an open pie with smoked brisket and a filling of eggs, cream, and cheese – is classically baked with gruyere
Quiche pies are worth talking about separately. Lorraine quiche is a classic of French cuisine. An open pie with smoked brisket and a filling of eggs, cream and cheese. In a classic quiche, it’s gruyere. What if you don’t have it in the fridge? You can replace it with Emmental or Swiss cheese. Aged cheddar would work well with quiche. This is for those who want to make a classic version. But there are others. For example, with salmon. Fish requires delicacy, and it is better to choose a cheese with a milder flavor – semi-hard Havarti is quite suitable for such a pie.
Cheese for pizza
Good pizza cheese is 70% of success. Classic recipes use mozzarella. It is the cheese that gives a stretchy, creamy layer. Mozzarella can be special, for pizza, or in brine balls – either pairs well with almost all of the ingredients used in pizza.
No mozzarella? Let’s find another suitable cheese. First of all, it is Adygean, it is even called Circassian mozzarella. And indeed, when heated, it is just as spreadable as the classic mozzarella.
For pizza, it is best to use the appropriate varieties of mozzarella – for the base and decoration.
By the way, young suluguni fresh from brine will do as well. In texture and taste it is also very similar to mozzarella.
Russian cheese is always a good choice for dishes where it must be melted. It has an unobtrusive flavor, a delicate texture, and this variety pairs well with any ingredient – whether it’s smoked bacon, boiled chicken, or pineapple.
Cheese for the rolls
Philadelphia rolls, by default, are made with Philadelphia cheese. Cream cheese, cucumber and fish are the ingredients that set the tone and are the defining ingredients in the harmony of the rolls’ flavor. Thin, delicate cheese spread also binds, binds all the ingredients together.
With what else can wrap rolls, if the store was not Philadelphia cheese? There are many options. You need a soft, cottage cheese. It can be almetta, creamette, mascarpone, ricotta. If desired, you can salt it a little, but only a little, so as not to interrupt the creamy flavor.
Cheese for sandwiches, sandwiches, bruschetta
Cheese for a sandwich is very individual; everyone can have their own favorite. It is the one that will add to the enjoyment of your morning cup of coffee or tea. Some prefer a spread of cottage cheese, some prefer a semi-hard cheese with a mild flavor, or the same semi-hard, but more aged, bright, intense, with an active flavor. Hard cheeses are bad for sandwiches and sandwiches – you can’t slice them into thin slices.For a hot breakfast sandwich, use semi-hard cheeses
Semi hard cheeses – Swiss, Emmental, Cheddar, Poshehonsky, Russian, Tilsiter, Edam, Gouda not only go well with cold sandwiches and bruschetta, but also behave perfectly when you make hot sandwiches with them. You can add anything you want to the company – any meat, vegetables, lettuce.
Lovers of moldy cheeses, which tend to break, should not give up sandwiches – just cut the cheese into thicker slices. Balance out the sharp taste inherent in this variety with something sweet – a pear, for example, or pineapple.
There are quite a few varieties of cheese that are specially designed for sandwiches, sandwiches and bruschetta. Mostly they are semi-hard varieties, sliced right into neat squares. Very handy!
Cheese for pasta, potatoes
Macaroni and cheese is a favorite food of many. Even kids who don’t eat cheese as a product don’t give up on macaroni and cheese. What kind of cheese should be? The simplest, but melt and stretch well, have a pleasant creamy taste. Grate it on a grater, sprinkle it over hot pasta – that’s the maximum enjoyment. For those who like it spicier, you can use parmesan or other hard ripe cheese.To pasta add any cheese that melts well, stretches and has a bright creamy taste
Another thing is potatoes. You can take the easy route and do the same as with macaroni – rejoice in the creamy taste of cheese and its easy meltability. But we want to get closer to the original source – a French dish called raclette. Hot, freshly boiled potatoes are poured over melted cheese with the same name. A slice of ham is sure to go with the dish. It’s simple, but it’s the taste of Swiss Raclette cheese that makes this simple potato dish unique. The cheese is firm and soft at the same time. Once melted, it lays down a dense ribbon, which does not solidify for a long time. Spicy and creamy at the same time. Some people smell mushrooms, while others smell a slight floral aroma.
Is it possible to cook potatoes with cheese, but without the unique raclette? It’s unlikely to be exactly the same, but fat cheeses (45% fat) that melt evenly can do the trick. These include gouda, cheddar, maasdam, tilsiter, edamame.
Try it! Either way, hot potatoes and cheese are delicious!
Cheese for soups
Of course, you can make a tasty soup with the addition of classic processed cheese, but with fried onions it acquires flavor harmony, completeness.The soup of processed cheese has a characteristic creamy taste and light consistency. But if you add bread or croutons – it’s enough for a hearty meal.
Today, the range of processed cheeses is much wider, and it is easier to choose your favorite. But cheeses designed for sandwiches are definitely not suitable for making soup.
Friendship Cheese, Fried Onion Soup Cheese, and Mushroom Cheese are invariably the most suitable for cooking first courses. So the advice is one: read the composition, the purpose, and do not forget to look at the expiration date, processed cheese is not the most marketable product.
Melted cheeses quickly dissolve in hot water, acquiring a liquid consistency. They give their flavor to the soup, adding only a little density to the dish. This is their main value.
Cheese for salads
The world of salads that use cheeses in their recipes is vast. They can be cheeses from sheep, cow and goat milk, soft, semi-soft, fresh and aged. Each with its own flavor and aroma. And each with its presence creates a salad that is unique in flavor. Cheese can be added to the salad, sliced or grated. The salad can be a light, appetizer salad, but it may well become a full, hearty lunch. But everywhere if there is cheese it will play the title role, set the flavor tone.Caprese salad on a par with pizza – the heart of Italian cuisine
The classic of Italian cuisine, Caprese salad is tomatoes with mozzarella and basil. Greeks can’t imagine their cuisine without horiatiki salad, and we call it so – Greek. The famous “Caesar” salad is impossible without grated parmesan. But that’s just what lies on the surface, at the very top of the world’s salad hits. Bryndza is delicious eaten with watermelon, added to a lentil salad, and mozzarella pairs beautifully with red orange. There’s no need to figure out how to replace cheese in your favorite salad. You can do the opposite – match the salad with your favorite cheese.
Cheese for Baked Vegetables
Whatever vegetables you bake – potatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini, or mushrooms, for example – they should first be roasted or baked in the oven until tender. And only after that, add cheese on top and put in the oven again. It is good to mix two kinds of cheese for baking vegetables. One will melt and become a viscous, creamy sauce, and the second will create a ruddy, crispy, tart crust. Mozzarella and Parmesan are ideal for such baking. You can use grated cheddar and sprinkle it on the vegetables twice – at the beginning of baking and 10 minutes later, when the first portion of cheese is melted. If you don’t have mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar, feel free to use Gouda, Tilsiter, Oltermanni, Russian, or Swiss. All of these cheeses melt well and form a ruddy crust. By the way, if you want just the crust, sprinkle one with Parmesan.
Cheese for hot meat, fish (baking)
Remember the iconic dish of Soviet holiday feasts? Meat “French-style.” The obligatory action, without which it was impossible to fulfill the recipe, was to sprinkle the top with grated cheese. Often it was the most common “Russian”. And at the end of socialism the only cheese available was plain cheese. But seriously, oven-baked meat also needs a ruddy cheese crust. “Russian” coped with this task perfectly. Grate it on a grater, put a slice on meat or fish – it was just as good for any dish that was cooked in the oven. “Russian” will do just as well now, even if we don’t have the more appropriate emmental, gouda or cheddar cheese. All of these cheeses will melt into a cheesy, lingering sauce and brown on top.Gonna bake meat with cheese and vegetables in the oven? Choose “Russian” cheese!
By the way, back to French-style meat. French cuisine has two curious dishes – “Pot au Feu” gratin and “Dauphinoise” gratin with chicken and tarragon. Both feature meat baked with potatoes in a béchamel sauce. They remind me very much of our Soviet table dish. And, in fact, very close.
Cheese for risotto, moussaka and other iconic dishes (as an important ingredient)
There are few dishes in the world’s cuisine that cannot be made without cheese. Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is Italian risotto. Rice and cheese are the two main and unchanging ingredients in a classic risotto. Rice and cheese are not necessarily the least delicious, but they come in all varieties. The main thing is to respect the basic characteristics of the products. But today we are only talking about cheese. Most often, when making risotto, Parmesan is used, it gives the right texture and taste. But as the Italians themselves say, risotto is a dish that uses all the pieces of cheese that are in the fridge and it’s not just parmesan. Fontina, emmental, mozzarella, scamorza, philadelphia. Only intuition can tell you what kind of cheese and how much, but…a pinch of pecorino at the last minute! Judging from experience, when the risotto is “on the tip of your tongue”, you can make it with Emmental cheese, add Philadelphia or Brie cheese for creaminess, and a pinch of Parmesan cheese for zest.About the cheese mixture for fondue – which is more correct and authentic – the Swiss are still arguing
Where there’s Switzerland, there’s fondue. And the opinion of the native Swiss will differ as to which is the most correct cheese to use for the hot cheese mixture. It could be emmental and gruyere in equal quantities, and some will argue that it’s only fontina, gruyere and gouda cheeses. And everyone will be right! These varieties complement each other well, resulting in a soft, rich flavor of cheesy, lingering sauce to a slice of bread.
And there’s another dish that you can’t do without cheese! This is Greek moussaka. Only haloumi, the bearers of the Greek culinary tradition stand firm. But nothing is impossible. Try substituting jaloumi for feta mixed with ricotta. Feta is a fairly salty cheese, ricotta will make it taste softer. Or make a dish with gruyere.
Cheese for cakes, desserts
A review of dishes in which cheese plays an important role would not be complete if we forgot about desserts. The classics everyone knows are the Italian dessert Tiramisu and the classic New York cheesecake.
In Tiramisu, mascarpone cheese must be a mandatory ingredient. It is a creamy, soft cheese that actually acts as the cream. It would not be a special crime to replace it with similar soft cheeses with creamy flavor – Philadelphia or almette.For the Tiramisu dessert, only mascarpone is used
The classic New York cheesecake dictates its own rules – only Philadelphia. But is it really that strict? No, of course it’s not. Any cream cheese will do – mascarpone (for the cold cooking method), ricotta, almetta, creamette. And the cheeses for cheesecake can be mixed with fat, non-sour cottage cheese.
How convenient – two such different recipes with interchangeable ingredients. After all, all soft cream cheeses are similar in flavor. The only difference is the fat content and a small amount of sugar or salt.
Cream cheeses are successfully used in the preparation of creams for layer cakes, caps for cupcakes. The cream is more delicate and less greasy than if made with butter.
Muffins, biscuits, casseroles, light mousses – the range of desserts and pastries, which will find the use of cream cheese, quite large. The main thing is to find a good recipe.
And the French simply eat cheese as a dessert – soft, semi-hard, hard. But that’s another story altogether.