Did you know that a cheese’s flavor profile can change throughout the year? Just as the fruits and vegetables that we eat have seasons, so does the natural flora that animals feed on. Their diet is reflective in their milk and, therefore, in the cheese crafted with that milk. Come spring in California’s Marin County, the hills are alive with lush greenery and wildflowers (a veritable feast for the cows!). During this coveted season, Inverness—which is only aged for about two weeks—has a sweet grassiness and subtle, almost lemony flavor, making it an ideal mate for everything green and springy, from asparagus and snap peas to fava greens and tender herbs like mint and dill.
The delicate lactic acidity of this small format, cow’s milk cheese plays well with produce of all kinds. Come summer, enjoy these grain bowls with a combination of cherry tomatoes, corn, sautéed pans and fresh herbs like basil. As the days grow cooler, embrace autumn with a mix of late harvest eggplant, caramelized mushrooms and roasted tomatoes. And, in winter, try them with roasted wedges of acorn squash, shaved cauliflower and bitter chicories.
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Total time: 1 hour
For the dressing:
1 small shallot, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tarrragon, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the farro bowls:
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the bias into 1 ½-inch pieces
1/2 pound snap peas
1 1/2 cups uncooked farro
6 ounces mixed tender greens, such as pea sprouts, fava leaves or baby kale (about 4–5 cups)
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup dill fronds
2 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, diced
4 Inverness cheese, halved
Flaky sea salt, for garnishing
- To make the dressing, combine the shallots, garlic, tarragon, lemon zest, lemon juice and white wine vinegar in a mason jar, mix and set aside for 15 minutes. (This’ll mellow the sharpness of the shallots and infuse the tarragon into the lemon juice and vinegar.)
- Add the mustard, honey, salt, and pepper, screw the lid on and shake to combine. Uncover and add the extra virgin olive oil. Screw the lid back on and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, as necessary. Set aside.
- While you’re making the dressing, bring a large pot of abundantly salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until bright green and tender-crisp, about 1–2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Repeat the blanching process with the snap peas. Set the asparagus and snap peas aside.
- Bring the pot of water back up to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the farro, reduce the heat to medium high, and cook, according to the package instructions, to al dente, about 25–28 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, shaking it well to remove as much excess water as possible. Transfer the cooked farro to a medium bowl. Give the dressing another couple shakes to re-emulsify it and then pour a third of the dressing over the farro. Toss and then taste and season with a little more salt, if necessary.
- In another bowl, combine the tender greens and herbs. Add a couple spoonfuls of dressing (just enough to lightly coat the greens) and toss to combine.
- To assemble, divide the farro and dressed greens equally among four shallow bowls. Arrange the reserved blanched asparagus, snap peas, radishes and cucumbers on top of the farro and greens. Finish each bowl with two Inverness halves and spoon a little extra dressing over the vegetables. Garnish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and enjoy!
You can find Inverness Pt Reyes Cheese Shop & Creamery and at select California retailers. Keep your eyes peeled for more Inverness on our online store!