Maria Moreira's garlic-and-herd-marinated fresh Portuguese cheese
Maria Moreira usually eats her fresh cheese with Portuguese bread or rolls. At other times she marinates it in olive oil to enjoy on salads or as part of an antipasto platter. Since the cheese is quite perishable, it is best eaten in this recipe after 1 or 2 weeks at the most in the refrigerator.
1 (12-ounce) round fresh Portuguese cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil leaves
Olive oil (2 to 3 cups or more)
Place the cheese in a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl. Drape the cheesecloth over the cheese (to protect it) and place in the refrigerator. Let the cheese drain overnight -- about 12 hours.
The next day, cut the cheese into bite-sized cubes. Layer them in a clean jar with a few pinches of salt, the garlic, red pepper flakes, and basil. Pour enough olive oil into the jar to completely cover the cheese. Tighten the lid and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
To serve, let the oil come to room temperature. Remove the cheese and serve as desired.
Serves 4 to 6.
By Victoria Abbott Riccardi, Globe Correspondent