Known familiarly as “goat cheese” in the US, fresh chèvre is just one of many fromages de chèvre hailing from the central region of France. In French, chèvre literally means female goat, and the word has become synonymous with the cheese itself. Fresh chèvre took hold in the United States in the 1980’s after Laura Chenel, who had worked for cheesemakers in Europe, began making farmstead goat cheese at her eponymous creamery in California. Recognized by its signature, rindless log shape and soft, crumbly texture, fresh chèvre is the youngest of goat cheeses. Its flavor is mildly tangy, earthy, and a touch sweet; and it has a high melting point, which makes it more versatile than you might expect. While always delicious in a leafy green salad, don’t underestimate the ways in which this classic and cool cheese can elevate your cooking and baking.
1. Roasted Caramelized Grape and Chèvre Panzanella
Like classic summertime panzanella, this spring interpretation is best made using fresh toasted bread rather than day-old bread.
2. Whipped Preserved Lemon Chèvre Toast with Pickled Radish and Sumac
Preserved lemon and pickled radish pack a lot of bright flavors. If more salt is desired, garnish each toast with a sprinkle of flaked salt or a touch more chopped preserved lemon. For a spicier, crunchier bite, use fresh spring radish instead of pickled.
3. Keftedes with Herby Zingy Chèvre Dip
4. Chèvre and Honey Tart with Pistachio Crust and Rhubarb Compote
The jammy and tart rhubarb compote wonderfully accompanies the cool and sweet honey chèvre filling of this easy-to-make dessert. It is best served slightly chilled. Since the chèvre filling develops in flavor over time, consider making it a day ahead.
5. Savory Chèvre Oatmeal with Poached Egg and Chili Crisp
This spicy, comfort-food meal is inspired by Cilbir (Turkish eggs) and is delicious when paired with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, or fresh spring asparagus.