Cheese rinds sometimes get tossed into soups, broths and stews, fortifying with an umami backbone that adds rich, savory, developed tones. At Nico, a modern bistro that offers prix-fixe menus, Nicolas Delaroque, Chef/Owner, uses cheese rind to pump up flavor in a delicate mousse.
He created the Makeover Cheese-Rind Mousse with the California Milk Advisory Board as part of its REAL Makers campaign, celebrating innovative chefs who design their culinary creations with the best ingredients and the greatest respect for the food.
The mousse at Nico is served with Mission figs and fresh red mustard greens. “We wanted to do a take on the classic combination of figs and cheese, but we wanted to highlight the cheese in a lighter way with the mousse,” he says. “The mustard brings a little spicy touch to the dish. The figs are raw and quartered—they don’t require much manipulation because they are naturally very tasty and sweet.”
He makes the mousse with the rind of an aged California Point Reyes Farmstead cheese, milk, cream, carrageenan and seasoning. Once the mousse is set like a panna cotta, Delaroque breaks it apart and adds it to a siphon, ready for service.
“The beauty of this dish is its simplicity,” he says. “The mousse could be used in a variety of ways and on many dishes, including an amuse, set on a small spoon and topped with chervil or thyme.”