Recipe: Italian Cheese Log

Posted by Hedi Schreiber on

Ingredients

CHEESE LOG:

  • 500g/ 1 lb cream cheese , softened (Note 1)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (Note 2)
  • 1/2 tsp EACH thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, black pepper OR 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, salt, red pepper/chilli flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 2 cup cheddar or other cheese , freshly grated (Note 3)
  • 280g / 9 oz roasted peppers , drained and finely chopped
  • 180g / 6 oz salami , finely chopped (Note 4)
  • 3/4 cup green olives , finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup green onion , finely minced (3 - 4 stalks)

TOPPING/SERVING:

  • 220g / 7 oz sun dried tomato strips with OIL , roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley , finely chopped (or chives)
  • Rosemary sprigs (decoration)
  • Jatz or other crackers , for serving

Instructions

  • Spray a loaf pan with oil then line with cling wrap with overhang.
  • Mix Cheese Log ingredients together. Taste and adjust salt if needed (bear in mind saltiness of crackers you are serving with).
  • Scrape into loaf pan and level surface, pressing to remove air pockets. Smaller pan = taller loaf.
  • Cover with cling wrap overhang and refrigerate for 4 hours+ (up to 1 week).
  • Turn out onto platter, peel off cling wrap.
  • Top with sun dried tomato and pour over oil. Garnish with parsley and rosemary sprigs to give it a festive look.
  • Best to serve closer to room temp than fridge cold. Serve with crackers! Knives for smearing optional - it's soft enough to scoop with crackers.

 Recipe Notes:

1. Cream Cheese - I use Philadelphia blocks. In the UK and some parts of Europe, cream cheese only comes in tubs and it's softer, like the spreadable kind. If you can only get the spreadable kind, skip the sour cream.

2. Sour Cream - or yogurt or mayonnaise. Forgot to add it in the video, had to add it later off camera! It's just to loosen the mixture a touch, makes it nice and easy to scoop with crackers.

3. Cheese - use any flavoured, melting cheese you want, such as cheddar, tasty, Swiss, gruyere, pepper jack, emmenthal. For an authentic Italian experience, use Asiago which is an Italian cheese. 

Skip mozzarella - doesn't have enough seasoning for a recipe like this. Best to freshly grate - strands are finer so they blend through better. Store bought tends to be chunkier grates - if you use pre shredded, give it a rough chop.

4. Salami - I use hot! I buy the large round presliced salami from the deli, makes it easier to chop (see video). Salami packs a good flavour punch and is a key flavouring element in this recipe.

5. Freeform - Scrape onto cling wrap, roughly shape into log. Roll up like a sausage and twist ends. Keep twisting ends to tighten the log - will smooth out the shape. Refrigerate, then once cool you can mould it more.

6. Customise it! Switch out any of the add ins for whatever you want. To make it meatless, skip the salami but add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan (will give it a great flavour punch). Other ideas: artichokes, capers, any other type of olives you want, pickles/gherkins finely chopped, any other pickled vegetable or antipasto type things. Finely chopped cooked chorizo or crumbled bacon, even ham!

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