Watermelon and zucchini with grilled halloumi cheese.  Watermelon and strawberry salad with fresh goat cheese.  Fresh stone salad with feta. Photos courtesy Murray’s Cheese.
Make fruit salad even more delicious: Serve it with cheese.
Fruit and cheese are an ancient tradition. Today’s tip is for fruit salad with fresh cheese.
WHAT IS FRESH CHEESE?
Fresh cheese is aged for a few days or not at all. Ranging from creamy and spreadable (fromage blanc, ricotta), to soft and pliable (halloumi) to crumbly (goat cheese), if has no rind, which develops during the aging process.
During the cheesemaking process, the milk for fresh cheese is “ripened” with starter cultures, bacteria that convert the milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid. This enables the milk to thicken.
Rennet is then added to further thicken the milk and create curds, rennet is then added . Once curds form, the liquid (whey) is drained away and what remains is turned into cheese.
Milky: fresh goat cheese or ricotta
Grilled: Halloumi, grilled and paired with watermelon and cherry tomatoes on the vine.
Sweet & salty: feta with watermelon and oranges or stone fruits.
Some suggestions from Murray’s Cheese, our favorite purveyor of great cheeses from the U.S. and around the world:
Fresh cheeses include:
Cottage cheese/pot cheese
Goat cheese (chèvre)
Feta, a Greek cheese that is brined and lightly aged
Halloumi, a Greek cheese that can be unaged or aged, and holds its shape when grilled or fried
We’ll add two slightly aged cheeses to the mix:
The difference between cheese and other cultured milk products like sour cream and yogurt is rennet.
Cheese is defined as made from curds, and rennet precipitates the curds from milk.
Thus, while products like fromage blanc, quark and queso fresco look like sour cream and yogurt, the former are made with rennet. You may not be able to see the curds, but they’re there.
READY TO MIX & MATCH?
Any fruits will do, but pick the best of summer: berries, melons, stone fruits and/or tropical fruits.
Pick up whatever looks best at the market, make fruit salad and serve it with a fresh cheese.
Even better: Provide a plate of different cheeses and let guests add whatever they like.
Whether for dessert, snack, or other course, consider serving the fruit salad and cheese with:
Flatbread (from Middle Eastern like lavash to Swedish flatbread like Wasa)
French croutons (toasted thin slices of baguette or ficelle)
Fruit bread (such as raisin bread) or cornbread