Spanish sheep’s milk cheeses are a great way to knock yourself out of any cheese rut you might be stuck in. Manchego is probably the most famous, but it’s only the tip of a fantastic flavor iceberg. Idiázabal is a great one from the Basque region. Nutty, hard, and salty, it’s terrific on its own, but baked with potatoes, it adds just the right rustic touch to this simple casserole. Serve it with some red meat off the grill, a crisp salad with some spicy olives in it, and a big red wine. If you live in the DC area and want to find the cheese, try here.
(serves 4 as a side)
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 baking potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 ounces hard salami, thinly sliced
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon herbes de provence
salt to taste (depending on how salty your stock is; don’t forget the salami & cheese are salty too)
1/4 pound Idiázabal (or other hard sheep’s milk cheese)
Pour chicken stock into a 9×9-inch glass baking dish. Toss potatoes, onion, salami, butter, herbes de provence, & salt in large bowl. Add half of potato mixture to baking dish, then half of cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes & cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 450º oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake, until liquid has cooked off and top is crusty, about 20-25 minutes.