The Lady told me that her cheese Mentor and good friend, Rebecca, loves Asiago. If it’s good enough for Rebecca, it deserves to be reviewed by this Feline Foodie.
Asiago is a DOP-protected cheese and depending on its age, assumes different textures depending on its age. As a young cheese, it is smooth and creamy but as it ages it becomes crumbly. When it reaches its oldest age it is hard like Parmigiano-Reggiano. In many cuisines it is considered to be interchangeable with Parm-Reg or Romano.
The Lady brought some Asiago “bones” home and through a couple of them into a pot of her marinara sauce. It sure kicked that sauce up more than a notch and The Man claimed it was the best marinara he had ever tasted. Man, did he score points with that; The Lady glowed from his praise.
For those not familiar with the terms “bones”, it is the rind of the cheese. Bones are edible and full-flavored. Bones are usually the leftovers when grating harder cheeses. You can often buy bones at a reduced price.
Although imitated the world over, the DOP Asiago is special because the cows that produce the milk graze in Alpine meadows in the Veneto region of Italy. According to wikipedia.com, “Alpine meadows have a larger variety of grass species, medicinal plants and flowers all of which contribute to a better tasting milk with a higher protein content.”
A young Asiago can be sliced and used in sandwiches. As it matures and hardens it can be grated and used in salads or as a table cheese. It is often grated on top of vegetable dishes and breads and melted to add flavor. The Man buys Asiago bagels from a local bakery; one of his favorites.
The Cheese Kiosk carries the DOP Asiago d’Allevo, which is hard and mature. It is made from skimmed raw cow’s milk and arrives in flat round wheels that weigh at least eighteen pounds, often as much as thirty pounds. The Kiosk also carries Piave, which is an even more mature Asiago that tastes very similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano.
As for taste in general, Asiago is sweet and nutty. As it ages, it takes on a butterscotch and more pungent taste.
The Lady grates a little Asiago over my Classic Salmon Pate and it brings a new dimension to this feline foodie’s mundane canned food.
I give Asiago 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: This cheese is so versatile that you can do almost anything with it. Slice the young cheese on sandwiches and paninis. You can serve it as a table cheese with fresh figs, grapes and pears. You can add it to pizza dough; marinara, pesto and Alfredo sauces. You can grate it on top of baked meat and vegetable casseroles. It is an excellent addition to risotto and other rice dishes.
Wine Pairings: Bardolino
Beer Pairings: Nut brown ale
Source: Raw Cow’s Milk