Every true appetizer aficionado knows the key to a drool-worthy cheese plate is the inclusion of a gooey and often severely fragrant soft cheese. From a soft-rind brie to a silky chèvre, the spreadable texture of soft cheese begs to be eaten on a crisp cracker. But trying to incorporate soft cheese into a dish is a bit less intuitive. Thankfully we have a bit of a soft cheese expert in Antoni Porowski, Netflix’s “Queer Eye” food guru who is a self-proclaimed “dairy freak” (see GreekYogurtGuacGate.) If you follow the adorably relatable “Queer Eye” chef on Instagram, you know he’s not shy about letting his dairy freak flag fly. He’s even got a suggested cheese pairing for breakups.
It makes sense that Porowski partnered with Boursin last November. He’s the perfect dude to get you out of your soft cheese and cracker rut—I mean, the man figured out how to make a hot dog fancy while making us cry like 80 times that episode so he’s got the soft cheese quandary covered, no problem. We enlisted the cookbook author to help us figure out how best to nail our new soft cheese habit.
Antoni in the Kitchen, $21.05 on Amazon
Pre-order Antoni's first cookbook—you'll have to wait til September to get it and see what other cheesy surprises are in store.
What is the number one thing home cooks should know when working with a soft cheese?
I’ve heard a lot of people think soft cheeses should be enjoyed cold. I disagree. Allowing them to reach room temp really brings out their flavors.
What are your favorite soft cheeses?
Give us your top 5 uses for a soft cheese?
- Solo with good bread, and at room temp!
- Folded into mashed potatoes
- Stuffed into medjool dates
- Mixed into a cheese mix for mac and cheese
- Whipped with chopped dried figs for a nice spread
If you’re going to include a soft cheese on a cheese plate, what else can you pair it with other than crackers or bread?
I love an agrodolce (Editor’s Note: Get Antoni’s sweet and sour sauce recipe below) or a pepper-infused honey. Dried apricots work well, too.
What kinds of soft cheeses should we be using for sandwiches?
Boursin shallot & chive adds necessary flavor to any sandwich and complements the protein.
Boursin Cheese with Garlic and Fine Herbs, 2 packs for $7.70 on Amazon
Also a worthy flavor of fluffy soft chese.
What’s the best way to heat soft cheeses without sacrificing their texture/taste? Whenever I do this, it just becomes a gross, oily liquid.
They need something to bind or incorporate into, like mashed potatoes or pasta. Sometimes it’s about it getting melty and not fully melted, like crumbled over roasted veggies.
Is there a common recipe where you could easily sub out something else for a soft cheese to make an already existing recipe richer?
Dip possibilities are endless, but my favorite is really using it in mashed potatoes. The starch welcomes its creaminess.
Antoni’s Algrodoce Recipe
- 1 box Boursin Garlic & Herb
- ¼ cup honey
- ¾ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 sprig chopped rosemary
- 2 tablespoons crushed macadamia nuts
- Bring chili flakes, vinegar, honey rosemary, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Reduce heat and simmer until syrupy, 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool and drizzle over Boursin and sprinkle with crushed macadamia nuts.
- Serve with crackers and assorted dried fruits and vegetables.
Equally obsessed with soft cheese? Check out the difference between ricotta and cottage cheese, and some of our favorite ricotta recipes. And if you can’t get enough “Queer Eye,” revisit some of the best lessons they’ve taught us (about entertaining and about life).
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