St. Agur Cheese: Three Ways

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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It appears that I’m in “product review” mode lately.  It wasn’t planned.  It’s just that lately I’ve received some excellent products to try and I thought you might be interested in hearing about them.  Last week, I told you about Chocomize, a very cool company that makes personalized gourmet chocolate bars.  Today, I’m swinging to the other side of the spectrum and telling you about some excellent cheese that I’ve been sampling from Ile de France.

Ile de France Cheese has been importing gourmet French brie, goat cheese and camembert since 1936, when it was the first importer of French brie to the United States. The company uses the Ile de France name to promote Ile de France brand cheeses as well as other types of gourmet-quality French cheese that are sold under different labels and owned by the same parent company.

I have long been familiar with Ile de France’s brie, goat cheese and camembert, as  they are readily available in my area supermarkets.  What I hadn’t realized before was that several of the other “fancy French cheeses” in the cheese case, like Comté, St. Andre and Raclette, were also from the company.  So, when the folks at Ile de France invited me to sample some of their cheese, I happily accepted, and chose one that I had never seen at my local market – St. Agur.

St. Agur is a soft, velvety blue cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk in the French village of Monts du Velay. It has a mild, buttery flavor with just a hint of delicate sharpness.  With a 60% butter cream content, it is considered a double-cream cheese. As you might expect, every bite is sinfully delicious. It’s a divine cheese that reminds me a little of a fine Italian gorgonzola dolce.  Because it is so rich and creamy, St. Agur melts and spreads easily, making it a great choice for cooking.

With the hefty chunk of St. Agur cheese I had in my hot, little hands, I was able to make three different but equally fabulous dishes.  The first was a decadent homemade blue cheese dressing that I served over salads and with buffalo wings.  The second was a light and lovely spinach salad with pears, blueberries, toasted walnuts and a pear vinaigrette.  And, the third dish was a “black and bleu” burger, topped with lots of gooey, melty St. Agur crumbles.  Don’t ask me which one I liked best. That would be like asking a mother to choose her favorite child!  All three dishes were wonderful, due in no small part to that heavenly St. Agur cheese.

roquefort-dressing-1

Homemade St. Agur Dressing

Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tabasco sauce
6 ounces St. Agur cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients except cheese until smooth.  Crumble in 1/2 of the St. Agur and whiz in a blender or with a hand blender until fairly thick and smooth.  Stir in remaining cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes approximately 2 cups

gorgonzola-salad

Spinach Salad with St. Agur, Pears, Blueberries, Walnuts and Pear Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pear nectar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
8 cups baby spinach
1 cup walnut halves, toasted
1 cup fresh or canned pears, diced
1 cup fresh blueberries
3/4 cup crumbled St. Agur cheese

Directions:

1.  To make pear vinaigrette, combine pear nectar and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half.  Remove from heat and let cool.

2.  Whisk in Dijon mustard and cider vinegar. Still whisking, drizzle in olive oil until emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Combine  spinach, walnuts, pears and blueberries together in a large salad bowl. Top with cheese. Just before serving, add the dressing and gently toss.

Serves 4.

blue-burger-1

Black & Bleu Burgers

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground sirloin
1/2 medium onion, coarsely grated
2 teaspoons blackened seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces St. Agur cheese, crumbled
6 hamburger buns, split, toasted and brushed with a little melted butter

Directions:

1.  Combine the chuck, sirloin, onion, blackened seasoning, Worcestershire, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.  Mix well and shape into 6 thick burger patties.

2.  Cook burgers on an indoor or outdoor grill or griddle to desired doneness.

3.  Place each burger in a bun and top with some of the St. Agur cheese and any other toppings you desire.

Serves 6.

While I did receive the product to try for free, I received no monetary compensation or other inducement to write this review. I wrote it because I really, really liked the cheese. If I ever saw it available in a shop around here, I would buy it.  In fact, I’ve already spoken to the deli manager at my local market to see about stocking it.  If you have access to St. Agur where you live, you really should give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

I hope you enjoy these recipes using St. Agur cheese.  Stay tuned, because I’ve also got an amazing ice cream to share with you that I made with Ile de France’s goat cheese.  You won’t believe it!

22 responses to St. Agur Cheese: Three Ways

  1. On May 12, 2010 at 2:15pm, Valerie @ City|Life|Eats said...

    These all look so scrumptious :)

  2. On May 12, 2010 at 3:26pm, Romy said...

    Great post, Susan (I especially love the burgers!) – except the cheese is spelled St. Agur – only one ‘r.’ Check out the label in the first picture and you’ll see what I mean.

    Cheers,
    Romy

    • On May 12, 2010 at 7:38pm, Susan said...

      You are right, and I knew that. I have no idea why I added the ‘r’! :oops: Thanks for pointing it out to me. :)

  3. On May 12, 2010 at 4:47pm, Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

    It all looks phenomenal! Nothing better than playing with a delicious new blue cheese. xxSAS

  4. On May 12, 2010 at 6:17pm, Rosa said...

    I love this cheese, especially when served melted over salmon! What great dishes! Three wonderful ways of serving this flavorful cheese.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    • On May 12, 2010 at 7:40pm, Susan said...

      Oooh! I’ll have to try it with salmon next! It sounds great! 8)

  5. On May 12, 2010 at 7:55pm, Joanne said...

    Mmm there really is so little that I love more than blue cheese! You came up with some delicious ways to use it…love that salad!

  6. On May 12, 2010 at 8:30pm, SMITH BITES said...

    Oh Wow! Have never tried this cheese but will be heading to the cheese shop to find some! That burger has my name all over it for sure!

  7. On May 12, 2010 at 10:24pm, Manggy said...

    It’s hard to decide which one I like the best! The pear, St. Agur and walnut salad sounds classic. You can toss the walnuts in a saucepan with a little maple syrup until it crystallizes on the exterior… yum!

  8. On May 13, 2010 at 12:48am, Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said...

    I love blue cheeses, but I’ve never heard of this one. It sounds amazing! I would use it the same way you did, on burgers + salad. Perfect. :)

    Jenn

  9. On May 13, 2010 at 5:12am, Cherine said...

    These all look delicious!!

  10. On May 13, 2010 at 7:25am, FFichiban said...

    Yuummm they all look so goooddddd but I am leaning towards the buffalo wings and cheese dressing. There is just something about the bitey blue that goes well with sweet or spicy wings mmmm

  11. On May 13, 2010 at 10:00am, bellini valli said...

    Any one of these recipes makes me want to hgead to our local shops and find some blue.

  12. On May 13, 2010 at 11:53am, Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen said...

    Everything you did with the cheese looks dreamy, Susan!

  13. On May 13, 2010 at 9:34pm, Kristen said...

    All 3 dishes look amazing, but I think the salad would be the one I have to try!

  14. On May 14, 2010 at 3:24pm, Eliana said...

    I have never met a cheese I didn’t like. These recipes are a great excuse to have more of it!. Although I never need an excuse now that I think of it.

  15. On May 14, 2010 at 9:19pm, Marie said...

    I want that burger BAD!!

  16. On May 18, 2010 at 8:49am, Lori @ RecipeGirl said...

    Looks pretty darn good. I’m thinking you’d have loved the trip I just got back from …. cheese tasting in Italy! Visited 4 cheese producers and learned anything & everything there is to know about cheese. I don’t think I can ever eat mainstream cheese again!!

  17. On May 19, 2010 at 1:15pm, The Food Hunter said...

    that salad looks amazing.

  18. On May 20, 2010 at 3:42am, emiglia said...

    They all look great, but the black and bleu burgers have me absolutely salivating! Wow!

  19. On May 27, 2010 at 10:31pm, Steve said...

    that salad looks amazing.

  20. On May 30, 2011 at 1:47am, allan said...

    just returned from my annual visit to south wales uk—-now back in my adopted home Thailand, with me came a lump of St Agur- always do- it’s one of the best cheeses your ever likely to come across-pack well and it will travel well and keep a long time- simply the best–

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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