Monday, January 14, 2013

Melting Fun with Appenzeller

Hello everyone! I decided that this week leading up to my class on raw milk cheeses that I would feature some of my favorite raw cheeses. Last post I talked about Parmigiano Reggiano (a cheese I can't live without). Today I wanted to talk about Appenzeller...

Cheese: Appenzeller
Producers: Farmers from the semicantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden as well as in parts of cantons of St. Gallen and Thurgau.
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Aged: 3-4 months
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

Appenzeller is quite a tasty cheese. I describe it to my customers as the spicy Swiss cheese. When you cut into a wheel of Appenzeller you immediately can smell that this is a washed rind cheese by the tangy, pungent scent it gives off. While it is aging, the cheesemakers treat the outside with a secret herbal brine which gives the cheese its spicyness. When you first taste Appenzeller it starts off very subtle almost like an Emmenthaler (the original Swiss cheese) and then as the cheese warms up in your mouth it develops a fruity, tangy, spicy flavor - quite an experience.

One of the attributes of Appenzeller is that it melts really well, so I decided to provide you all with another fun recipe using this cheese. Today I made Melty Proscuitto and Appenzeller Crackers. A perfect finger food for the upcoming football games. Enjoy!

Here's what you'll need:
(makes 16 crackers)
6 oz Appenzeller cheese shredded
1 oz Proscuitto sliced (more if you're feeling generous)
16 sturdy crackers

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then start to lay out the crackers on a cookie or baking sheet.

All the ingredients you need...

Then place slices of proscuitto on the crackers.

Cover with shredded Appenzeller.

Place the pan in the oven for about 6-7 minutes (keep an eye on it!). You'll want the cheese to be melted, but not too brown or crispy.

You can freshen it up a bit with little bits of parsley or another garnish if you'd like. The people on my team that were able to try them thought these were really yummy. And it only took me about 15 minutes!

If you want unadulterated Appenzeller, try eating it with grapes or apples. The tangyness plays nicely with the fruity acidity of the grapes or apples. I have also added Appenzellers to my fondue to give more of a kick.

I hope you all enjoy the recipe! Have fun this week and don't work too hard. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!