I remember the conversation like it was this morning, instead of twenty-something years ago. My mother and I were discussing cheese on the phone, and she brought up blue cheese. I immediately told her that I was not fond of it.
She proceeded to tell me that I knew nothing about blue cheese, and being like other Americans, my only familiarity with blue cheese was soapy-tasting blue cheese dressing that was ever-present at salad bars, which she claimed beared no resemblance to real thing.
Well, she was right. I was in high school when I began eating salads, and not being a huge vinegar fan as of yet, I didn’t eat my mother’s vinegary salads at home. I ate them instead at diners with salad bars – places you go for lunch in high school. I remember the dressing choices well. There was blue cheese, French, green goddess, and thousand island. They were all pretty terrible. Especially the blue cheese.
In any case, my mother took charge. She said, “I’ll send you a good blue cheese, and you’ll see the difference.” She did, and I did. Thank you, Mom.
The cheese she sent me was Cambozola – a triple cream blue cheese from Bavaria. Now triple cream cheeses are almost like cheating, because tripling the creaminess guarantees goodness. But this cheese was fabulous. The name stems from the fact that the cheese is like a cross between Camembert and Gorgonzola.
To this day, Cambozola remains one of my favorite cheeses. My husband and I both love it, just with crackers, or as part of a cheese platter.
Recently my husband asked me to make a blue cheese sauce for his birthday steaks, and I immediately thought to use Cambozola. I made the sauce simply with cream, and it was wonderful. I didn’t blog about the dinner because my husband, especially being his birthday, wouldn’t have appreciated the delay for the photo documentation!
I don’t typically smother good food with sauces. But just for fun, I thought asparagus would be good with a little of my Cambozola sauce.
Here’s what I did:
Steamed Asparagus with Cambozola Sauce
wedge of Cambozola, see details in recipe
1/4 cup heavy cream
Unwrap the cambozola. Then trim the rinds; I didn’t think they would dissolve in the cream. What I ended up with was just a little over 4 ounces of Cambozola.
Pour the cream in a microwave-proof bowl. Yes, I’m seriously going to use the microwave for this sauce! Heat the cream gently, but get it hot. Crumble up the Cambozola as best you can and place it in the hot cream.
Let it sit for about a minute, and then whisk it.
The cheese should soften completely. I was fine with a few little blue cheese blobs in the sauce. Set aside.
Meanwhile, trim the asparagus. Good spring asparagus doesn’t typically have really woody ends, but it’s good to check in any case.
Place the asparagus in a steamer basket and steam over simmering water for 5-7 minutes. The time will depend on how thick your asparagus spears are. Place the cooked asparagus on a paper towel to dry slightly.
To serve, I placed the hot asparagus on a plate, and poured on some of the warm sauce, which had thickened nicely.
Just for fun, I also topped the asparagus with caramelized shallots and toasted pine nuts.
If you don’t want this sauce with asparagus, toss it with pasta, cooked potatoes, or pour it over just about any meat.
If you can’t find Cambozola locally, you can purchase it at IGourmet.com. There is also a black label Cambozola, much more expensive, which can be purchased at IGourmet and at http://www.murrayscheese.com/cambozola-black-label.html. I cannot wait to try that!