For too long, cottage cheese has been unfairly tied into the diet industrial complex or discarded as an old-fashioned, if virtuous, deli or dinner side dish. However, there has been some reputational improvement in recent years, as evidenced by a number of headlines: “Can we finally all admit that we love cottage cheese??” conjured Bon Appetit in 2017; a year later, the New York Times food section countered with the more curious “Is America Ready to Love Cottage Cheese Again?”
The nation has been slowly preparing to realize something many of us have always known: It’s time to stop underestimating cottage cheese — and not just as a side dish or accompaniment, but as an ingredient.
Of course, the Eastern European and especially Jewish food culture is before us here. Think pasta balls — sweet or savory — that are dense but not heavy thanks to a mix of eggs, egg noodles, sour cream, and cottage cheese. In some of the remaining Polish restaurants in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood (some of which were once “Jackowo,” pronounced yahts-KOH-voh, (which roughly translates to the village of St. Hyacinth, after the corridor’s anchor community) guests can still find kluski z serem, sometimes simply “called”Polish pasta.”
They almost resemble a simple, deconstructed ball made with heated cottage cheese and sweet, caramelized onions in a bowl of egg noodles.
Cottage cheese, much like other acid-curdled cheeses like ricotta, feta, and farmer’s cheese, will never melt into a smooth, velvety fondue bath or mix evenly into a béchamel. It’s just not built for that. However, it’s worth learning to love lumps, or at least learn to manipulate them to enjoy the unique dimension they add to many dishes.
For example in the instructions for Alison Roman’s Apricot Cottage Cheesecake — what the cookbook author shared in a year 2021 issue of their recipe newsletteraptly called “a newsletter”, and then again in her 2023 dessert cookbook “sweet enough– She writes that you could supposedly substitute cottage cheese for ricotta, but she wouldn’t recommend it.
“As I tell you may Use ricotta, I really want you to use cottage cheese,” Roman writes. “The little curds that sink to the bottom get caramelized and wow, it’s almost like I did it on purpose… I love substitutions.” But know my intentions are pure and purposeful. So follow the recipe if you can.
Late last week, Good Eats creator Alton Brown shared a new recipe for a wedge salad with salty pork chunks and a thick, creamy blue cheese dressing. “Yes, we need a new recipe for wedge lettuce,” he wrote Instagram. “And yes, there’s cottage cheese in the dressing!”
While I’m not always a huge fan of lettuce wedges (I prefer a pre-chopped salad, which my defunct Catholic guilt interprets as a minor slap in the face of my work ethic), I do have a soft spot for any dish I feel like eating at a steakhouse should have oak walls alongside an ice-cold dirty martini, so I dutifully prepared a batch of dressing this weekend. It’s excellent; The light flavor of the cottage cheese pervades the sulphurous scent of the blue and combines with the Kewpie and buttermilk to create a fantastically fluffy end product.
You can also remove the lumps from cottage cheese at any time by briefly chopping it in a blender. I was reminded of this when I saw an Instagram post from Bettina Makalintal, Senior Writer of Eater (@crispyegg420) with a bowl Thick rigatoni coated in a stunning green sauce Made with cottage cheese, blanched vegetables, and pasta water. The headline read, “Mixed cottage cheese is good. Case in point: this kale sauce.” From experience, you know this method also works with oil-pickled, sun-dried tomatoes, pureed butternut squash, or just lots of lemon zest—basically, any ingredient that blends smoothly and has a creamy, tart flavor grade would benefit.
If you don’t want to mix the cottage cheese yourself, brands like friendship dairy and that Kroger Own Brand have launched whipped cottage cheese products that are great for mixing into gravy or spreading on toast.
The only condition is: it is not worth buying fat-free cottage cheese; The quark is rubbery and the lack of fat is compensated for by the addition of additives. When a co-worker asked me the other day if fat-free cottage cheese could just be thrown in the trash, I replied, “Like a loaf.” When you fall in love with cottage cheese again, you fall in love with the full-fat version, lumps and all.
Read the latest
about this theme