I’ve never successfully made a hard cheese with a natural rind before.
On a biodynamic fruit day, back when we still had Buttercup the cow, I mixed some of her milk with some of our goats milk, cultured it, sort-of followed an asiago recipe (I am not so good with all the continuous stirring), pressed it, salted it, and put it in the makeshift cheese cave to age. Roughly once a week, mostly on other biodynamic fruit days, I would tend to the cheese. I would rub more salt on it, brush it, to keep the growth of some things in check, and to help it form a rind. For months I looked at this cheese every week, wondering what it would taste like.
After around five months I cut into it. It’s probably the best cheese we’ve ever tasted!
Today I made this salad with it. Feta is really good in this, as is any hard cheese, or you can use chopped walnuts instead. This is a good salad to make ahead of time, it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, just make sure the squash has fully cooled down before you add it to the spinach.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Cheese
1 or 2 tablespoons bacon fat, lard, or coconut oil
3 cups diced butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 cups baby spinach or mesclun mix
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup cheese of your choice, or chopped walnuts
optional olive oil or macadamia oil
optional squeeze of lemon juice
Heat a roasting tin in the oven at 200ºc (390ºf).
When the tin is hot, add the fat and stir though the squash to coat it in the melted fat. Sprinkle with salt and stir to coat, then bake for around 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the pumpkin is soft and browned in places. Allow the squash to cool down, or finish the recipe while it’s still warm.
Put the spinach in a serving dish, top with the pumpkin and cheese, drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice if you like. Enjoy right away, or store in the fridge for a couple of days.