Thursday, August 09, 2007

La Brousse and its Uses

Brousse, a fresh light tasting ewe's cheese,
is used in both sweet and savory preparations.
I like it on hot blinis with smoked salmon and duck.

We love to buy Brousse down south where we can get it super fresh, and see it everywhere in Provence and the Côte D'Azur when we are there. It is a simple fresh white ewe's cheese that drains in a basket, much like its Corsican cousin, Broccio. In Ubaye valley, the local patoie reveals a link to another cousin, calling it Recuite. Indeed, we can see the family resemblence with Ricotta. Brousse generally is labeled to contain 40 to 55% fat, but in reality the percentage is much lower, because it contains lots and lots of whey.

It has a light, creamy taste, a bit more substantial than fresh ricotta. When you taste it, it is easy imagine its use in either sweet or savory preparations. Epecially in Nice, its uses in cuisine are for the most part savory, involving oil, herbs, and garlic. Desserts pair it with compotes in pastry, in dessert verrines, or as a layer with lemon curd on a flat tart.

Near Toulon, the traditional local production was a bit different from neighboring regions and did not include salting it. Because of this feature, it had to be eaten on the same day it was produced. Reference to the cheese goes back several hundred years, with mentions of women flocking to towns with their baskets of Brousse for sale in the morning.

In addition to eating it plain or simply seasoned with herbs and pepper, southerners use Brousse in stuffed pasta and vegetables, and they also roast it in thin pastry with fish and herbs. They roll it in cured ham, and work minced vegetables into it to pair it with eggplant. Brousse has a natural affinity for tomatoes, so we see it not only paired with fresh tomatoes, but dried as well, in tarts.

Brousse du Rove is yet another Brousse that comes from the end of the Rhone before it ends at the Mediterranean, and is often not made from ewe's milk, but goat. It has a special fresh herbal taste and distinctive long thin basket mould.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lucy,
Just delurked to say congratulations on the article in the Boston Globe. Reading your blog is one of the pleasures of my day. I enjoy your writing and photography. My wish is to be able to live in Europe for a few months every year. When we visit and I go to the markets I long for a kitchen to use.

10:38 PM, August 09, 2007  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Dear Alison,

Thank you! I have added a link to the article in the new "press" section...

3:55 PM, August 10, 2007  

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