Sheep milk cheeses

Posted on 3 min read

First things first, we need to know that a female sheep should be called ewe. Just an accurate term you’d probably like to know. Many people detest sheep’s milk cheeses simply due to their taste. But for others, such cheeses are a must-have ingredient in their fridge. Splendid texture, distinct grassiness and a buttery, rich mouthfeel that can enlighten any breakfast experience.

One of the most – from a culinary perspective – important and notorious sheep cheese is feta. It’s a curd made in Greece. Sometimes it’s made from a mixture of ewe and goat milk. You definitely know this variety: slightly grained, crumbly, briny, produced in blocks, added to Greek salad along with some olives and olive oil, tomatoes, cukes, red onions, and oregano. Nice starter, for sure. But did you know that you could easily grill the whole block in the oven? That’s right, grilled feta can rock your world and all your salads! All you have to do is to open a pack of cheese, drain it, pat with paper towels, spread some olive oil on top, add fresh herbs like rosemary, chives, and whatever you prefer, and cook until the edges are lightly browned. Then serve the grilled feta to salads, sandwiches, or omelets.

It’s interesting to mention that the UK previously had its own Yorkshire Feta, but the owner was forced to change the cheese’s name to Fine Fettle Yorkshire after the EU ruled that all Feta cheese must be produced in Greece only.

Another brined sheep cheese is halloumi. It’s often associated with Cyprus, as the mid-16th century records say. As there were few cows on the island, halloumi was traditionally made from sheep milk. It has distinctive layers to it, like mozzarella, it’s salty, tangy, flavorful. But what it’s really prized for in cooking is its high melting point. It can be fried until brown in a skillet without being disintegrated, which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor parties with BBQ and smoked ribs. But it’s not only great with meat. Cypriots like eating halloumi with watermelon on a hot day. A very refreshing experience. You can also make some halloumi fries, just like you would cook mozzarella sticks. This cheese can go in sandwiches, stews, salads, even inside savory pies. Great with buttery hummus and vibrant mango salsa.

One of the most renowned Italian hard cheeses, except for parmesan, is pecorino. The name simply means “of sheep” in Italian. Pecorino romano is probably best known outside the country of origin, though there are many varieties found on the internal market (tosacano, siciliano, crotonese, just to name a few). They all differ depending on how long they have been matured, for this reason we have some harder and more crumbly-textured pecorinos with pronounced nutty and buttery flavor, and some softer pecorinos with milder flavor profiles with milky and creamy overtones.

Want to get the best yet simplest recipe that highlights pecorino flavor? Opt for classic cacio e pepe pasta dish. It means “cheese and pepper” in several central Italian dialects. The ingredients are very simple: pasta of your choice (but it must be spaghetti!), black pepper, and pecorino romano grated on top. Drizzle some olive oil for extra luxury and dig in! You probably won’t need another recipe for quite a long time. And if you feel like getting tired of it, just add some pesto (made with pecorino, of course) to give your pasta a pleasantly luscious kick.

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