The abundance of red, juicy berries, bright green stalks of asparagus, and fresh leaf lettuces signal the start of summer in Wisconsin. Whether you’re growing a garden of your own or prefer weekend trips to your local farmer’s market, eating seasonally during the summer months is easy and delicious—especially when it involves cheese.
Wisconsin cheese is a natural pairing for summer’s bounty of fruits and vegetables. With so many varieties, types and styles of Wisconsin cheese to choose from (more than 600!), it’s easy to combine them with what’s in season for fresh, flavorful and memorable meals.
Here’s some seasonal inspiration to get you cooking during the month of June:
ARUGULA: This colorful Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese is great for serving as the main meal or side dish. Spicy arugula is tossed with radishes (which are also in season), diced apples, honey-mustard vinaigrette and tangy crumbles of Wisconsin blue cheese.
ASPARAGUS: Orecchiette Pasta with Yellow Tomatoes, Asparagus and Italian Cheeses is the perfect plate of light and summery pasta. It comes together in a quick 30 minutes and is finished with two Wisconsin favorites—mozzarella and provolone—for an extra cheesy final touch.
BEETS: Beet and Mozzarella Skewers are simple, delicious party fare. Chunks of tangy pickled beets, fresh mozzarella balls (also called ciliegine) and arugula leaves are threaded on a skewer then sprinkled with chopped pistachios for a salty-crunchy finish.
FRESH HERBS: This Parmesan Herb Veggie Dip is the do-it-all dip. It’s great for parties, picnics and everyday snacking, and takes just 10 minutes to make. Fresh basil and tarragon are mixed with sour cream and nutty Wisconsin parmesan cheese, then served with cut-up vegetables or pita chips for dipping.
KALE: Aged Asiago Kale Pesto is an easy way to sneak in more seasonal veggies. A whole bundle of leafy kale goes into this atypical pesto, which gets its rich, robust flavor from Wisconsin asiago cheese. It’s delicious tossed with pasta, spread on sandwiches, or smothered atop freshly cooked vegetables.
RHUBARB: Rhubarb’s season is a short one, which means we need to enjoy these pretty pinkish-red stalks while they last. Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie is the perfect way to do just that. Layers of tart rhubarb compote, rich cream cheese filling and sour cream are stacked on a graham cracker crust for a cool and summery dessert.
STRAWBERRIES: Strawberries are at peak flavor in June, and this recipe for Warm Brie with Strawberry, Basil and Balsamic Salsa makes the most of their sweetness. They help balance brie’s earthy, more pungent flavor. This appetizer is best served with whole grain crackers and a chilled glass of white wine on a dusky summer night.
SWEET PEAS: Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Peas and Mint is a simple and sophisticated appetizer that highlights the flavors of June. Fresh Wisconsin ricotta is milky and creamy, which is a nice contrast to the crusty bread, shelled sweet peas and minced green onion.
ZUCCHINI: Everyone needs a handful of zucchini recipes on hand, and this recipe for Fontina Stuffed Zucchini is one of our favorites. These kid-friendly zucchini boats are filled with tomatoes, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and tart fontina cheese, then baked until golden.
For more recipes, visit EatWisconsinCheese.com.