Wisconsin kasseri cheese is a firm, hard variety with a slightly tart and piquant flavor. It was first made in Greece using sheep and/or goat milk, but Wisconsin kasseri is made with cow milk or a blend of cow and sheep milk. For this new recipe, we borrow from Mediterranean cuisine and use kasseri with the lively flavors of Kalamata and green olives to accent warm polenta.
Servings: Makes 12 bites
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
1 16-ounce tube polenta, cut in 1/2-inch slices
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin kasseri, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup pitted olives of different varieties, finely chopped and mixed*
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
12 whole olives of different varieties, for garnish*
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place polenta slices side-by-side in hot skillet and fry, turning once, until both sides are deep golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Slightly cool polenta slices on paper towel-lined plate.
Meanwhile, place kasseri, chopped olives and thyme in small bowl. Pour remaining olive oil over and mix until coated.
Place polenta slices on a serving plate. Top each slice with spoonful of cheese mixture and one whole olive. Drizzle slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
*We used a blend of Kalamata, Niçoise, Castelvetrano and Cerignola olives, but any green or black olives will suffice.