In honor of June Dairy Month and all the dairy farmers in the state of Wisconsin, our Cheese of the Month is Wisconsin farmer’s cheese. This variety originated on farms as a way to use leftover milk after skimming the cream for butter. Because there are not established governmental standards of identity for farmer’s cheese, it can differ in look and taste from one location and cheesemaker to another. One version of farmer’s cheese is a soft and fresh style, similar to cottage cheese, but generally speaking, Wisconsin cheesemakers craft a semi-soft version that can be shredded or cut in cubes. It has a mild, buttery and slightly acidic flavor. Often cheesemakers also produce flavored farmer’s cheese varieties, such as caraway, dill, smoked, garden vegetable, garlic and dill, jalapeño, and tomato and basil.
In this new grilling recipe, baby red potatoes are topped with thick, creamy slices of farmer’s cheese and sprinkled with fresh chives for an easy summer side dish. You can also use a flavored version of farmer’s cheese, such as jalapeño or garlic, to boost the flavor even further.
Servings: 4 (4 large skewers or 8 small skewers)
3 pounds baby red potatoes, about 28 potatoes
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
22 ounces Wisconsin farmer’s cheese, sliced into about 28 squares approximately 1/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Sour cream for dipping, optional
Place potatoes and 1/4 cup water in microwave-safe bowl. Cook potatoes uncovered in microwave on high until just tender, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Drain potatoes and let cool several minutes. When cool, slice off 1 end of each potato to create a flat top. Discard end slices.
In large bowl, stir olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add drained potatoes and toss to coat. Marinate and refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour. Meanwhile, soak 4 large or 8 small wooden skewers in water.
Heat outdoor grill to high heat; lightly oil grate.
Remove potatoes from marinade and divide evenly among skewers (7 potatoes per large skewer or 3-4 potatoes per small skewer) with flat tops facing same direction. Place on grill, sliced sides facing down, and cook, covered, 5-6 minutes. Turn skewers so sliced sides face up; place cheese slices over flat tops. Cover and grill for 2-3 minutes, until cheese melts. Remove skewers from grill, sprinkle with chives and serve warm with a side of sour cream for dipping, optional.