Cheeses to Keep Around

What is better than cheese? Cheese is a kitchen staple, a necessity for a wide variety of dishes. So when it comes to cooking with cheese, there are a few cheeses that should be a staple in your fridge.

First off, parmesan. Good parmesan is a must-have at all times. A wedge of parmesan can last for weeks in your refrigerator, so chances are you will run out of parmesan before it goes bad. Parmesan is a great tool for pastas, risottos, salads, soups, and even on its own. So invest in a good block of parmesan and have some on hand at all times.

You will also need pecorino romano. A block of pecorino can last just as long as a block of parmesan so be sure to have one in your fridge. Pecorino works well with a wide variety of pasta dishes. Pecorino is the preferred cheese for carbonara and cacio e pepe.

Always, always, always have feta on hand. Especially in the summer time! Feta is such a wonderful cheese to cook with. It works well in eggs, pasta salads, salads, and in a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes, like spanakopita. While crumbled feta is great, I highly recommend purchasing a block of feta in brine. It last for a few weeks that way and has so much more flavor. I find a feta block (in brine) is much more useful for pasta salads and tomato salads because you get a good size chunk in each bite.

Goat cheese needs to be in your fridge. You are missing out if you have not used goat cheese in your cooking. Low and slow scrambled eggs with goat cheese is beyond delicious. There is a lot of cheeses that are classified as goat cheese, but I specifically mean a log of goat cheese or chevre. Add goat cheese into your scrambled eggs, mix it into pasta, crumble it over salad, make a goat cheese and zucchini tart, or just stir it into some veggies. Goat cheese has a wide variety of uses so keep it on hand always. Goat cheese will last in your fridge for a few weeks.

And always have a cheese or two to entertain with on hand. You never know when a casual glass of wine with a friend will turn into a nice appetizer hour with cheese and crackers. It is always good to have a hard and a soft cheese ready for such an occasion. I really enjoy manchego cheese, it lasts for a long while in your fridge and works well with a variety of wines. Rosey goat is always a great option because it has a great flavor and can really stand alone. Camembert and brie are hard to keep around because it is hard to limit yourself to a few pieces once you get started. When it comes to brie, I prefer to buy it the day before a party because otherwise I will consume it all and not have any left over for entertaining.

So be sure to have parmesan, pecorino romano, feta cheese, goat cheese, and one or two “entertaining” cheeses on hand at all times. There are wide variety of cheeses out there so be sure to branch out from your usual picks and try something new. Go to your local cheese shop and ask what they would recommend you sample based on your tastes. If you do not have a great cheese shop around, Whole Foods really does have a terrific cheese selection and a knowledgable staff. Just be sure to limit yourself to how much cheese you want to buy, don’t be like me and spend over $100 on cheese at Whole Foods because you feel the need to try them all.


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