What is a Capriole?
cap·ri·ole \ ˈka-prē-ˌōl
1: a playful leap : caper 2of a trained horse : a vertical leap with a backward kick of the hind legs at the height of the leap
What's not to love about those springtime babies? A week after birth, they’re climbing on their mothers, chasing each other around the barn, and leaping with a twist in mid-air. This leap is the most natural of all caprioles, a happy dance of birth, of springtime, and the exuberance of new life everywhere!
Capriole into Spring with Fresh and Ripened Goat Cheeses
The taste of fresh and ripened goat cheeses belongs to this season. The clean, tart flavors, and milky brightness add a light richness to the fresh produce of the season—spinach, asparagus, green onions, bright tart berries, and spicy salad greens. Winter is over and our palates crave this!
Miles from the closest specialty shops, we make the most of our vegetable garden and mix and match ingredients with what’s on hand. If I don't have green onions, I use chives or leeks, but I always have butter--and cheese!
Two of our favorite springtime recipes are with spinach and with asparagus. Along with green onions these are usually the first vegetables up in the garden. If you're lucky enough to grow your own, you know how intense those flavors are right our of the garden. If you're buying, select the very freshest. The first farm markets of the season are the best choice.
Years ago Midwest Living did a feature article on Capriole and included a recipe I’ve loved making for the last 30 years.
Spinach Goat Cheese Tart is a great luncheon dish. The richness of the pastry crust is offset by the clean tartness of fresh cheese. It's best paired with a simple salad of spring greens dressed with balsalmico and a crisp, white wine, like Pouilly Fuisse or Sancerre. Berries and Chantilly cream make a perfect finish!
Almost anything goes with risotto once you have the right balance of rice, liquids, and timing.
Creamy Asparagus and Goat Cheese Risotto is no exception. I think of risotto as a main dish, a raft for almost any flavors that compliment each other. I sometimes substitute fresh, early peas for asparagus, add a last minute handful of fresh, chopped mint, or omit the pancetta for vegetarian. For an even lighter version omit the Old Kentucky Tomme, and for a richer one you can increase the amount of OKT or another aged cheese of your choice. If morels are up I saute them in butter till crisp and top dress the dish. Again, it's the fresh cheese that adds that extra, unique dimension.
Not all fresh cheeses are the same. We still ladle every 400 gallon vat by hand and gently lay each scoop in cheesecloth lined baskets.
The object is to not disturb the texture of the curd until it is almost fully drained. For the next 5-6 hours before salting, only the weight of the curd itself helps it to drain. The end result is a very light, cloud-like cheese.