Thursday, February 04, 2010
Cheese, I thought I made bad puns...
Anyway (ouch), Lucy's Whey, an East Hampton favorite, recently opened a branch in Chelsea Market. It's a wee store, specializing in American artisanal cheeses. I did feel a bit too waited on, which is better than the reverse, I suppose, and the staff is certainly quite generous with both information and tastes. Chose Rogue Creamery's Smokey Blue, the first-ever smoked blue cheese. One would think that this would be a clash of flavor titans, but the light nutty smokiness seems to both temper and enliven the tang of the creamy blue. Also picked up a small bag of shelled black walnuts. I thought salad, which is really the only thing to eat when the windchill is -2.
Blue cheese and walnuts are a classic combo, but I was disappointed when I tasted the walnuts: they had an odd, funky flavor. I was expecting an uberwalnut, and was decidedly underwhelmed. Bruce suggested that I toast and then candy them. Never having candied anything but grapefruit peel before, I was good to go. I heated a little grapeseed oil in a pan over medium heat, and tossed in a handful of nuts. As soon as they started smelling toasty, I stirred in a couple of teaspoons of sugar and stirred some more. Holy nuts, they were actually candying! As soon as they started to color (and they will do this very quickly), I dumped them onto a paper plate.
I sliced up about half a jar of Rick's Picks Phat Beets. Used some of the jar's liquid--with a little chopped shallot and salt and pepper --for the dressing. Tossed in crumbled blue cheese and candied walnuts. Toss again so that the blue cheese turns violently pink. Serve with crusty bread.
Posted by Barbara L. Hanson at 2:06 PM
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