Making Good Blue Cheese Dressing GREAT
To make a great blue cheese dressing you first have to know what variety in the family of these cheeses you prefer. This distinctively flavored dressing makes a great accompaniment to a mix of fresh greens, as a dip with vegetables, or a side with celery and chicken wings. What is surprising to most people is that Blue Cheeses are wonderful to cook with. They add a complex, gutsy zest to dishes. You can choose your own degree of blue cheesiness making this dressing all your own taste. My personal favorite is Roquefort.
The Scoop on Picking Your Blue Cheese
Blue cheese is a general group of cheeses that features blue or blue-green veins and spots created through an aging process with the mold Penicillium, while Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Stilton are popular specific varieties within the spectrum of blue cheeses.
Roquefort and Gorgonzola are two kinds of blue cheese. Roquefort is a French sheep’s milk cheese and Gorgonzola is Italian and made from cow’s milk. Roquefort has a sharper flavor, but is not as strongly flavored as robust and aromatic Gorgonzola.
In choosing a Blue Cheese for your table, a general rule of thumb is that creamy blues are usually milder than the crumbly ones. This is because the extended aging of crumbly blues allows the veining of blue mold to spread deeper through the cheese, concentrating and intensifying the Blue Cheese flavor. This is something to keep in mind while serving Blue Cheese, as milder blues are best paired with light accompaniments, like acacia honey, grapes, celery, and crusty baguettes. Bold, crumbly Blue Cheeses are well suited to pairing with dark honey, chutney, walnuts, or melting on top of steaks and burgers.
Blue cheese is aged anywhere from two to three months and occasionally as long as six months. The longer the cheese ages, the stronger the flavor and aroma become. In cheese shops, younger batches are sold as Gorgonzola dolce, and cheeses aged longer are called Gorgonzola naturale or Gorgonzola piccante. The type of milk used in the making of cheese will affect the flavor. Goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and cow’s milk can all be used to make different types of blue cheese.
There are many varieties of Blue Cheeses—some are very mild, some are tangy, some kick like a mule. When you see a Blue Cheese described as “aggressive”, that’s cheese-tasters’ code for “it’s going to clear your sinuses.”
Mildest Blue Cheeses: Gorgonzola and Danish Blue will have the mildest flavors. Try some Cashel blue cheese from Ireland, if you can find it. It is creamy and not too sharp, very delicious.
Moderately Strong Blue Cheeses: Stilton, a hard cheese, takes second place here in terms of pungent flavor. Just so you know, the rind is edible, but not particularly tasty to some people.
Strongest Blue Cheeses: The creamy, crumbly blue cheeses are going to be the strongest. Roquefort is definitely the winner in the strong blue cheese category. It has a distinctive bite and aroma no matter how you slice it. This may not be right for the novice blue cheese consumer, unless, of course, you’re me! Maytag is crumbly and literally melts in your mouth. It takes second place on my list due to its spicy bite and tangy flavor.
Blue Cheese Salad Dressing, Smooth or Chunky
Makes 3 cups
Once you have decided on your preference of blue cheese, the rest is easy!
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or 4 teaspoons dried parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed or 1/2 teaspoon dried, minced garlic or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled (4 ounces/115 g)
- For Creamy Smooth Blue Cheese Dressing: Place all the ingredients in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to airtight jar or container.
- For Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing: Place all the ingredients EXCEPT blue cheese crumbles in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to airtight jar or container. Mix in cheese by hand.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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