Cu­cum­ber and Radish Salad with Fresh Cheese


SAVEUR - - Contents -

Ac­tive: 20 min. • To­tal: 4 hr. 30 min.

This sim­ple gar­den salad sits on a milky bed of crum­bled

biezpi­ens, a soft, fresh cow’s-milk cheese om­nipresent through­out Latvia. This recipe de­tails how to make your own, but in its place you can sub­sti­tute a welldrained ri­cotta or crum­bled queso fresco.

4 cups whole milk 2½ tsp. kosher salt, di­vided 3 Tbsp. fresh le­mon juice 1 kirby cu­cum­ber (8 oz.) 7 large round radishes (7 oz.) 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. dis­tilled white vine­gar 1 Tbsp. ex­travir­gin olive oil, plus more for driz­zling Freshly ground black pep­per ¼ cup thinly sliced scal­lion (2 small scal­lions) 2 Tbsp. finely chopped dill 1 Tbsp. heavy cream, for driz­zling

1 At least 4 hours or up to 12 hours be­fore you plan to serve the salad, make the biezpi­ens: In a heavy, medium stock­pot, com­bine the milk and 1½ tea­spoons kosher salt. Heat slowly un­til the milk ap­proaches a sim­mer, barely trem­bling at the sur­face, 185°F. Re­move from the heat, add the le­mon juice, and stir gen­tly, just un­til curds form, about 2 min­utes. Set aside at room tem­per­a­ture un­til the curds have set­tled at the top, about 20 min­utes.

2 Line a fine mesh strainer with 3 lay­ers of cheese­cloth and set it over the sink. Drain the curds, dis­card­ing the whey. When most of the whey has drained off, set the sieve over a bowl and re­frig­er­ate to firm up and con­tinue drain­ing, at least 3 hours or overnight.

3 Pre­pare the salad just be­fore serv­ing: Thinly slice the cu­cum­bers and radishes and place in a large bowl. Sea­son with 1 tea­spoon kosher salt, the vine­gar, 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil, and black pep­per, then add the scal­lion and dill. On a large serv­ing plat­ter, crum­ble the biezpi­ens in a loose layer, then driz­zle the cheese with the heavy cream and olive oil to moisten. Sea­son lightly with salt and pep­per. Pile the cu­cum­ber mix­ture in a loose nest atop the cheese and serve im­me­di­ately.

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