The New Wildcrafted Cuisine (Chelsea Green, 2016) by Pascal Baudar incorporates ingredients from the great outdoors into gourmet recipes that can easily be made in your own kitchen. Baudar uses the best that nature has to offer to bring unique and extraordinary flavors into every dish. The following excerpt is his recipe for a basic wild cheese.
It’s extremely easy to make this very basic cottage cheese. When you add wild ingredients and aromatics, the number of interesting flavorful combinations is pretty much infinite.
• 1⁄4 cup (59 milliliters) vinegar or lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon (6 grams) sea salt (optional if salt is included in the spice blend)
• A mix of 1 or 2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon spices (around 4 grams), and any wild ingredients you want to use
• Fresh flowers, leaves, spices, and herbs for decoration
1. Pour the milk into a large pot with a heavy bottom and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir it from time to time so the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Make sure your pot is made of non-reactive metal (no copper, tin, or aluminum). Stainless steel is okay.
2. When the milk begins to boil, add the vinegar or lemon juice and stir for a few seconds. Turn off the heat. The milk should separate into curds and whey extremely fast.
3. Let the milk rest for 5 minutes. While you’re waiting, line a colander with cheesecloth or a clean cheese towel.
4. Pour the curds and whey through the cheesecloth. The whey will pass through and the curds will accumulate in the cloth.
5. Wait 5 to 10 minutes to let the cheese curds cool off a bit, then tie up the cheesecloth and press it with your hands to remove the excess whey.
6. Now open the cheesecloth carefully, making sure the cheese does not stick to the fabric. Using a spatula or spoon, remove the cheese and place it in a bowl.
7. Add the sea salt and the garlic, spices, and/or wild ingredients to the cheese. Use a fork to mix everything thoroughly.
8. Now, using both hands, create a compact ball. It’s not always easy, as the cheese has a tendency to crumble. Just make it as round and smooth as possible; don’t stress too much about it.
9. Finally, set the cheese ball on a plate and decorate it. I usually add flavorful spices, leaves, and flowers. Wrap the cheese ball in plastic and twist the wrap to compress the cheese. You want to make it very tight so the curds will stick together as the cheese is cooling down in the refrigerator.
10. Store the balls in the fridge overnight and for up to a week. I like to use the cheeses within a day or two to keep the flavors of the herbs fresh. When it’s ready to use, remove the wrap and plate the cheese ball. You may want to add fresh herbs as decoration. Serve and enjoy!
More from: The New Wildcrafted Cuisine• Candied Tree Leaves Recipe
• Duck Prosciutto with Wild Sages Recipe
• Pickled Cattail Shoots Recipe
These recipes are adapted from Pascal Baudar’s book The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir (Chelsea Green, 2016) and are reprinted with permission from the publisher.