Few recipe ingredients deliver as much bang for the bite as a rich wedge of blue cheese. Because of its unique mold and make, blue cheese carries a full spectrum of flavors—salty, creamy, umami, tangy, and earthy—that cooks can employ all at once in a wide range of spicy and savory dishes. There are tried-and-true classics, such as hot, peppery Buffalo chicken wings with a cool blue cheese dip, which we feature here. And we’re pleased to introduce inspired newcomers to the plate, such as mini tarts composed of tricolored beets, walnuts, and blue cheese. Still more culinary uses for blue cheese fall somewhere between the familiar and the newfangled: on a towering open-face roast beef sandwich, layered between sweet peppers and crispy onions; crumbled atop a warm salad of arugula and sweet potato-parsnip pancakes; and blended into melt-in-your-mouth fig and cheese shortbread.
In all of these recipes we recommend using a good-quality domestic brand of mild blue cheese—nothing too precious or pricey, but one that’s a bit creamier than generic industrial blue cheese crumbles and wedges. If you prefer a bolder blue, go for it. Either way, the robust combination of flavors and textures is sure to please autumn appetites.