RECIPE #316, DAY #509
ORIGINAL RECIPE: Life experience and reading cookbooks*
TIMING: 5 minutes
DIFFICULTY: Easy, but a sense of food and aesthetics is a must
TOOLS: A cheese knife and perhaps a honey drizzler
COOK TYPE: None
HEALTH: Really, the French have a lot better way to end their meals in indulgence than we do. While we’re snorfing all the sugar and refined flour, they’re picking at fresh fruit, nuts, and cheeses. Kudos to them.
EXPERIENCE: Honestly, I have often had the strong desire to make a cheese plate, but no reason to make it. Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough for a reason, or the cheese just seemed too expensive. What I have done, though, is studied fruit and cheese plates, both in cook books and on the internet (and on Food Network, of course).
When I finally had the perfect reason to make a fruit and cheese plate (for a French Supper Club), I jumped at the chance. And I went about it by knowledge and feel. I believe that I did a marvelous (not perfect) job, judging both by taste and by appearance.
NOTES: One of the keys to a great cheese plate is a balanced combination of only a few choice cheeses. You want a combination of hard, soft, and medium (or hard, tender, spreadable, and runny), and a combination of tastes, too, like tart, earthy, salty, mild, and even sweet. What I wrote below is really only a guideline, based on your availability and judgement.
Obviously, quality is also super important here, as you are not processing a thing. At a good deli, you can always ask to sample cheeses, and there are plenty of farm stands in most towns in which to find great fruit.
- Artfully arrange on a platter (with breathing space): 1 Pink Lady apple, 1 pear, 1 bunch of red or pink grapes, 1 slice of blue cheese, 1 slice of Brie, 1 crock of farmer’s cheese, 1 crock or slice of sheep’s milk or goat’s milk cheese, a small bowl of honey, and 1 cup walnuts
- Serve with a basket of fresh, cut bread and/or crackers. Fall time is a good time to use something with seeds and whole grains.
Serve with espresso with foam or maybe a cafe au lait. Or, if serving at the front end, with wine.
*Recipe changed from the original.