Ever since F&W Best New Chef 1995 Terrance Brennan met his first runny, robust Époisses in the early 1980s, while on vacation in France, he has dedicated himself to promoting—and cooking with—exquisite small-batch cheeses. Here are some quick tips from him on cooking with various cheeses.
When gently heated, fresh cheeses like goat cheese, ricotta and mascarpone make lovely cream sauces for pastas; they’re also wonderful in frittatas and root-vegetable gratins.
Washed-rind cheeses like Reblochon and Taleggio turn runny and soft baked on pizzas and in casseroles; you can trim the rind before cooking, but it’s not necessary.
Firm but still-moist cheeses like cheddar and the Spanish goat’s-milk Garrotxa are perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches; they also add nutty flavors to soufflés and gougères.
Aged Gouda, Parmigiano-Reggiano and other dry, salty cheeses season dishes like spaghetti, soups and quiches. They form a great crust when they cool after melting.