Our first bite during a recent meal at City House in Nashville, Tennessee, was a round of burrata cheese, gleaming and bulbous among oiled crostini.
We thought we knew this creamy cousin to mozzarella. But no. This burrata was filled with cottage cheese.
No diner side dish, this. Chef Tandy Wilson uses Cruze Dairy Farm buttermilk as a base for his cottage cheese innards, seasoning them with just enough salt to curve around the milky sweetness. That the cheese was so simply and faithfully renewed made its deliciousness even more of a triumph.
Minds blown, we began reacquainting ourselves with the genre. More happy surprises: In New York, Northern Spy Food Co. uses its house-made curds on bread and topped with heirloom tomatoes, or dolloped alongside poached quince, greens and country ham. And fresh cottage cheese piled thick on a biscuit is a staff favorite at Seattle’s Dahlia Workshop Biscuit Bar. Sweeter than crème fraîche, more tart than mozzarella, cottage cheese offers mild-mannered support.
Even cheesemakers have found reasons to revisit the formula. In Indiana, Trader’s Point Creamery makes a fine, almost spreadlike version. But we prefer Cowgirl Creamery’s take, in which the still-fresh curds retain juicy bite and find balance in a hint of cultured acidity.
Curd your enthusiasm.