I don’t know if you remember last month’s cathartic admission that I’m an eager supporter of the magazine publishing industry, but we have a mystery addition to the stack around here: Entertainment Weekly. The funny thing about it is that we didn’t subscribe — it just inexplicably arrived in the mailbox one day almost a year ago, and has been making regular appearances ever since. No gift message, nothing.
Not that we’re disappointed by the pop-culture windfall. I’m not the most entertainment news-savvy girl in the bunch, so my weekly fifteen minutes with the magazine helps me know not only what movies are premiering but who this Lauren Conrad person is. Needless to say, I’m back running with the cool kids (Melissa from dance class, if you’re out there, can you return my junior high cheer uniform that you borrowed for Halloween that one year? It’s, um, been a while.)
But today I learned that I’m hopelessly behind. Jessica Shaw of the magazine’s much-reverenced The Shaw Report has denounced chèvre as being out. That’s right. Chèvre, quite possibly my favorite cheese of my cheese-loving days, is finished with its heyday of hip.
Pecorino is merely suffering the fate of being so-five-minutes ago, and apparently mozzarella is the new Pecorino. So there you have it. Please, adjust your menus and your cheese drawers accordingly.
If you’ve been a regular reader at all, or if you’ve ever been in my kitchen, you know that chèvre is regularly featured ‘round here. That’s because it rocks. Because it — especially the good stuff — tastes amazing and is really quite versatile.
And because it’s part of my personal history as a food lover and cook. I fell in love with chèvre in Paris. Of course I did. One can learn to like it anywhere, even come to adore it. But if you’re going to fall unabashedly in love with something, Paris is the place.
We were fresh off the plane, too young for jet lag but still famished, sitting outside in a café that overlooked the Seine (I think in the first arrondissement, but I can’t say for sure, as we didn’t have our bearings quite yet). Picture book perfect, I know. But there we were and, though I was more familiar with other things on the menu, this salade de chèvre chaud was what called out to me. Mixed greens, a simple vinaigrette, thin, crunchy slices of baguette, all crowned by a round of warm and oozy goat cheese.
I haven’t yet thrown in my hat on Croque-Camille‘s lovely meme featuring French foods, but on my list of favorites les français have brought into the world, warm chèvre salad will most certainly be tops.
While I can find a home for the cheese in many a recipe, sometimes I just like it as a spread. It’s easy: softened fresh goat cheese with the zest of one lemon, chopped herbs like thyme or basil, all stirred to smoothness with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice to taste and for consistency. I served it the other night with these flatbreads, which are fantastically easy, and some marinated eggplant. We spread and we crumbled, completely unaware that we’d become so not branchés.
Obviously, I’m unapologetic, and I’m sure the proprietor of that Paris café would feel the same way.