Recipe #9: Oscypek
There’s always a reason to celebrate food – especially if that food is cheese. Take it a step further by slapping said cheese on the grill between two generously buttered slices of bread, and we have an even bigger reason to party it up. So let’s give a big hurrah for the month of April aka National Grilled Cheese Month!
Seriously. The grilled cheese, with it’s crisp, buttery, and cheesy simplicity, has the innate ability to inspire intense feelings of mouth-watering desire. But, the Polish version of a grilled cheese is even simpler still. Why? Because it is what it is.
More specifically, grilled oscypek – the most famous of Polish cheeses.
Registered and protected within the EU system as a sacred regional product, oscypek is a smoked, raw cheese made from salted sheep’s milk. Balls of curdled milk are repeatedly rinsed with boiling water, squeezed of excess liquid, and then pressed into decorative wooden, spindle-shaped forms. The forms are then soaked in a salt-water brine for 24-hours and then placed under the roof of a wooden hut to be cured in hot smoke for up to 2 weeks.
The result is a beautiful pale straw-yellow colored cheese with a clean, smoky aroma and pleasant salty goodness. It’s usually served in thin slices accompanied by wine or vodka, but we think that it tastes even better grilled with a side of cranberry preserves (booze optional).
1 spindle of oscypek (true traditional oscypek can be hard to get your hands on, but commercial versions should be readily available at your local Polish grocery)
1. Cut oscypek into 1/2″ slices.
2. Grill until it takes on a golden color.
3. Serve immediately with a dollop of cranberry jam.
Note for Bacon Lovers
Roll a slice of oscypek with a thin slice of bacon and grill until bacon becomes crispy.