Salty Ricotta Salata
Funny I should run across two recipes this week calling for salty, crumbly ricotta salata, that somewhat perplexing pressed, dried cousin of regular ricotta, which is made from cow or sheep’s milk’s whey.I’ve pitched up wedges of ricotta salata over the years but never really felt inspired to do much with it. On its own, it tends towards unpleasant chalkiness, with the faint smell of sweaty gym socks. I’ve crumbled it in salads and that’s about it.
So a small hunk of it sat in our cheese drawer for the past month and a half. I sprang for it (not an expensive cheese) at the Kiva Grocery Store while in Eugene. But that forgotten wedge came in handy when I chanced upon these two recipes: Kim Severson’s Kale (or rather Gourmet’s) and Ricotta Salata Salad and Honey Paprika Potatoes. I substituted mixed greens for the kale in the former recipe and some feta when the salata ran out for the later, but both were still good. Anywhere else you’ve seen ricotta salata turn up of late? Or other whey cheeses for that matter? I still don’t quite understand how cheese is made from this watery milk byproduct. I’ve also once tried this Norweigian Geitost brown whey cheese, which tastes marshmallow-y and too sweet.