We were invited to attend a cheese cooking class by the lovely people at Comté. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the deliciousness of Comté it’s a hard cheese made from raw milk by cows who graze Alpine meadows full of flowers in France. The flavour and texture of the cheese depends on which flowers and plants were on pasture, how aged the wheel of cheese is (can be up to 24 months) and the expertise of the affineurs who look after the cheese during the ageing process. If you have the self restraint to do more with your Comté than eat it as it comes here are a couple of ideas!
Our first dish was one of my favourites, asparagus (perfect at this time of year) covered with a velvety blanket of cheese sauce. It came out so bubbly and golden I had to struggle not to dig into the demo version as it emerged from the oven.
Lightly blanch the aspargus in boiling water, drain and put in an ovenproof dish.
Make a white sauce, add 100g of Comté and stir over heat for 2-3 minutes til it thickens. Then take it off the heat and add an egg yolk, mustard, Worcester sauce and seasoning to make the best cheese sauce ever. Pop it in the oven for 8 minutes on 180 oC and finish it under the grill for 1-2 minutes or until you can bear the wait no longer and have to dive in!
The next was a salad which I’m a bit scarred by having eaten too many limp, sorry supermarket pre prepared salad. I have to say that I was unprepared for the beauty and tastiness of this. Enjoy!
Comté, broad bean, pancetta and hazelnut salad.
Put oven onto 190 oC put 50g hazelnuts in for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool and roughly chop. Boil 200g broad beans for 3-5 minutes,drain and skin. Fry 100g pancetta and put on kitchen towel to drain fat. Make a dressing in a clean jam jar by shaking 2 tbsp virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp Djion mustard and 1/4 tsp maple syrup together. Chop 10g basil and 10g mint, add it to 50g mixed salad leaves and toss through the dressing. Add the broad beans, hazelnuts and half the pancetta. Dish up and top with the remaining pancetta and Comté cut into thin batons.
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Comté UK website: http://www.comtecheese.co.uk/
… Kat serving us Comte and pancetta filo parcels on arrival with processo: