To know me is to know I love cheese. In fact, my friend Renea sent me this mug a while back and it pretty much sums up my daily life:
So, when I got an email regarding sampling Ile de France cheese, I was all over it. I had my choice between camembert, brie, and goat. Now, even though goat is my favorite of the bunch, I decided to go with the camembert because it’s a cheese I don’t really eat all that often and, come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever bought.
Camembert is a very mild cheese and it has some nuttiness to it. I would say it is similar to brie in taste and texture (though it has some more punch than brie). It’s creamy and, while it’s probably “better” to just eat it at room temperature and not necessarily cook with it, there are few things I like better than a nice, melty cheese. Mmm. So, I decided to use it in one uncooked application and 2 cooked dishes (and, of course, I ate some on its own).
This Ile de France camembert was delicious! It’s got a fabulous texture and just enough flavor that it lends itself to many pairings, but can stand on its own, too. I’m hoping to order some of the goat cheese next!
Now, onto the dishes!
First, I used it in a porcini risotto. I think the slight nutiness of the cheese pairs well with the earthiness of the mushrooms. Plus, I will take any chance I get to make risotto since we don’t eat it all that often. This was so good that I think I may make it again next week!
Porcini and Camembert Risotto
Serves 2 as a main dish
Printer Friendly Recipe
1 (1.5 oz.) package dried porcini mushrooms
1.25 cups boiling water
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 sprigs thyme
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, kept warm on the stove
2 oz. Camembert
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper
Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and then add the boiling water. Allow the porcinis to reconstitute for about 15 minutes. Strain them, reserving the water you used, and chop the mushrooms.
Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once shimmering, add the shallot and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds before stirring in the rice, chopped porcini, and thyme. Stir the mixture so that the rice is coated with the oil and begins to toast slightly.
Add the wine and deglaze, allowing nearly all the wine to evaporate. A ladle or so at a time, add the porcini liquid and the broth, alternately, stirring continuously and allowing the rice to absorb most of the liquid before adding the next ladle.
Continue adding the porcini liquid and broth a ladle or so at a time, stirring, until the rice is cooked al dente. It should still be slightly firm to the bite, and it should be a little “loose.” You’re not looking for a rice type dish that has absorbed ALL its liquid. There should be some liquid still in the pan.
Remove the pan from heat and stir in the camembert and the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary and serve immediately (as if you could wait!).
Next, I made a simple salad. This is an endive salad with toasted walnuts, room-temp camembert, sliced apples (use your favorite kind) and cider vinaigrette. I like my dressings more acid-y than most, so I do equal parts apple cider vinegar & olive oil. (I also added pressed garlic and salt and pepper, of course.) As you know, I am working on having the love for fruits with savory dishes and this one won me over. Delicious! To let the apples absorb the flavor, and to keep them from browning, add the sliced apples to the dressing as you prep the rest of the salad.