Say (goat) cheese: Enjoy old favorites with tangy, gourmet twist

Sharma Howard

Summer is perfect for the lighter flavor of goat cheese, which can be used on anything from salads to pizzas to dessert. It has a smooth, tangy flavor that is distinct, and often associated with more gourmet fare. It is most readily available in supermarkets as Chevre, and is usually imported from France, Israel and Wisconsin.

But cheesemaker Paul Trubey, owner of Beltane Farms in Lebanon, Conn., said goat cheese is at its best when purchased from a local farmer through farmer’s markets. Not only is it fresher, but it has less of a carbon footprint, he said.

Beltane Farm has 75 milking goats and produces six types of cheeses from the popular Chevre to feta, as well as a harder cheese. He also sells one that has a brie-style rind and another with vegetable ash. They also sell goat milk yogurt and milk, which is tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to cow’s milk.

Trubey said goat cheese freezes very well, lasting up to six months, so when visiting farmer’s markets, don’t be afraid to stock up. This helps because goat milk is seasonal, starting in April and ending around December.

Goat cheese that isn’t vacuumed-packed will have a shelf life of about two weeks.

There are many types of goat cheeses that stretch beyond Chevre, from cheddar cheese to ones that are ripened for a deeper flavor, which Trubey said are becoming popular.

“There’s a real variety in goat cheese,” he said.

Goat cheese salmon

4 salmon fillets

1⁄2 cup herbed goat cheese

1⁄4 cup prepared Dijon mustard mayonnaise blend

salt and pepper to taste    

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish.

Arrange the salmon fillets in the baking dish. Make small incisions in each fillet, and stuff with equal amounts of the herbed goat cheese. Spread equal amounts prepared Dijon mustard mayonnaise blend over each fillet. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake salmon 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until easily flaked with a fork.

Goat cheese pizza

11 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

7 ounces roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil, drained

4 pita bread rounds

1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

1⁄2 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste   

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Separate the pita breads by cutting around the outer edge, and carefully prying the halves apart to make two rounds out of each one.

Place the separated pita rounds onto cookie sheets. Generously sprinkle goat cheese, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes onto each one.

Bake the pizzas for 16 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the crust is crisp. As soon as the pizzas come out of the oven, sprinkle with torn basil, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Cut into quarters, and serve hot or warm.

Goat cheese stuffed tomatoes

4 large fresh tomatoes

4 ounces goat cheese

1 tablespoon chopped bottled roasted red peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

1 tablespoon torn fresh basil leaves

kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven broiler.

Slice the tops off of the tomatoes and hollow out by removing the seeds.

In a bowl, mix the goat cheese and chopped red peppers together. Spoon an equal amount of the cheese mixture into each hollowed out tomato. Place stuffed tomatoes upright in a baking dish. Top each tomato evenly with the bread crumbs and torn basil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place under broiler for 5 minutes to 10 minutes until bread crumbs are lightly browned.

Reach Sharma Howard at; (860) 425-4235