Cheese Ball

4 tablespoons good-quality salted butter
1 cup shredded sharp, flavorful cheese, in any combination that might include Gruyère, Cheddar or blue cheese
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped, salted roasted pecans
1 heaping tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley

Allow the butter and cheeses to come to room temperature. They should sit out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Put everything except the pecans and parsley in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. It should take about 4 minutes.

Plop the mixture onto a piece of waxed paper and gently form into a ball. Place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or until firm enough to work with.

Mix the pecans and parsley together on a large plate or a cutting board, then roll the cheese ball in the mixture. Cover any surfaces with a sprinkling of the mixture and pat into the sides until you have an evenly coated ball.

Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, let the ball sit out for at least a half hour to soften. Serve with good plain crackers or small toasts.

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