A torta (not to be confused with a tortilla, which is an omelet) is the Spanish version of a crustless quiche, although it’s a bit lighter. It is easy to prepare, looks like a showpiece, and of course, it’s marvelously delicious.
Today’s torta is made with broccoli sautéed with a fresh cayenne pepper (which spikes up the dish without making it spicy-hot) and a sublime clothbound cheddar. If you’ve never tasted clothbound cheddar, you’re in for an exhilarating ride! It reminds me of the famed English Farmhouse Cheddar, with all its sweet caramel and tangy, nutty, deep, complex flavors.
My first introduction to clothbound cheddar was in Vermont, where I tasted Cabot Creamery’s exceptional clothbound cheddar, which is crafted by the expert cheesemakers of the Cellars at Jasper Hills. There, the young cheddar wheels are wrapped in muslin, then aged for 10 to 14 months in carefully controlled temperature, humidity and airflow. Special molds start to grow on the cloth, and in time they impart to the cheese its signature flavor. I fell in love!
A couple of years later, though, my love affair with clothbound cheddar took an even more delicious turn: While visiting Wisconsin, I was invited to Bleu Mont Dairy for a tour of their cave. This is where I finally had a close encounter with the superb cheese… one that I shall never forget. Stepping into Bleu Mont’s underground cave was exhilarating – rows of cheddar wheels, totem-like, were waiting patiently for the molds to work their magic. The pungent, earthy smell that hit my nostrils as I entered the cave made me want to move right in.
This torta is my tribute to Bleu Mont Dairy, to the Cellars at Jasper Hills and to all the cheesemakers whose skills and patience deliver such goodness to our tables.
Say cheese… and torta!
Note: Murray’s Cheese, based in NYC, sells both Cabot’s and Bleu Mont’s cheddars. They ship anywhere in the US. Make sure to order enough for this recipe and for savoring the cheese on its own.
Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.