Marinated Cheese

I love recipes that use unexpected ingredients which work unexpectedly well together. That’s what resulted when I developed the recipe for Warm Ravioli Salad with Marinated Cheese, Apple, and Tomato, which appeared in Fine Cooking Magazine’s August/September 2019 issue (#160).

Warm Ravioli Salad Recipe Link

As the recipe came together, and after tasting it for the first time, I thought about adding a sweet component to play off the tangy marinated cheese. Something bright with a subtle crunch that would add texture and interest to the dish. Getting the balance right when developing a recipe is like walking a tightrope; one small catastrophic slip to the left or right could mean a tragic ending, so I knew I had to tread lightly.

I searched my refrigerator and found what I thought was the perfect fresh ingredient. A Honeycrisp apple, which I diced and tossed into the salad, anticipating a positive outcome. With the first bite, I knew I had made the right choice.

Fresh, packaged ravioli, especially the small size, is such a versatile ingredient not only because they cook in minutes but because they’re light and they always taste great. If you can find jarred marinated cheese, buy it! You won’t be sorry. You’ll use it for everything because it’s that good. For example, consider the flavorful oil in the jar that no one usually thinks about. It’s infused with the briny saltiness of the cheeses, spices, aromatics, and seasonings.

Marinated Cheese Recipe Link

If you’re like me, you’ll want to make the marinated cheese yourself, if for no other reason than it being tough to find or simply because making your own will give you control over the quality and choice of ingredients. This dish is a light yet filling meal, perfect for a Spring or early summer brunch, lunch, or dinner.

This recipe combines cheeses of choice, so you can use whatever you have in your refrigerator. The only cheese I would suggest including is feta because its naturally briny, salty flavor will significantly enrich the oil’s flavor. At the same time, feta’s crumbly texture will infuse into the mixture, making the marinade tasty enough for you to want to use to the very bottom of the jar.

Let me know if you try either or both recipes — you know I love hearing from you!

—Chef Diana

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