Magazine article Sunset

Sandwich, Cabbage Salad, Meatballs .. All with Norwegian Cheese

Magazine article Sunset

Sandwich, Cabbage Salad, Meatballs .. All with Norwegian Cheese

Article excerpt

Sandwich, cabbage salad, meatballs . . all with Norwegian cheese

From the dairies of Norway come three cheeses, each with special properties well suited to these dishes.

Most familiar is jarlsberg, with its pale golden color and shiny holes. Similar to Swiss (emmenthal) cheese but milder in flavor, jarlsberg doesn't flow away when melted, yet tastes velvet smooth; it's particularly good for the grilled sandwich.

Widely available but less well known-- and with a limited but devoted following --is gjetost (say yeah-toast), a firm brown cheese. You'll find it in 1/2-pound bricks or cut to order at the supermarket. With reason, Norwegians call it "brown cheese"; they start most days with paper-thin slices on buttered bread.

Gjetost is made of goat's milk, cow's milk, and whey, boiled until the mixture looks like caramel and tastes distinctively sweet. When melted and blended with sour cream to coat these meatballs, the cheese makes a complex-tasting sauce, delicious on the meat and baked potatoes that can accompany this entree.

Look for the third, nokkelost, in your supermarket's specialty cheese section or in cheese shops. Its color and texture resemble jack cheese, but it's smoother and studded with a seasoning mix of allspice, cloves, and cumin. (A similar, less complex Scandinavian cheese is kuminost.)

This spicing makes nokkelost good for salads; here it's coated with crumbs, baked until crusty outside, creamy inside, then served with hot red cabbage.

Grilled Jarlsberg Cheese Sandwich

1 large onion, thinly sliced

About 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

4 slices firm white bread

4 to 6 ounces jarlsberg (or Swiss) cheese, thinly sliced

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan on medium heat, stir often 1 tablespoon of the butter and onion until onion is very soft and golden, about 30 minutes.

Spread 1 side of bread slices with remaining butter. Mound onion equally on unbuttered side of 2 slices; top with cheese. Set bread, buttered side up, on cheese.

Place sandwiches in frying pan and cook, covered, on medium-low heat until cheese is soft and bread is browned, about 12 minutes total; turn sandwiches once. Remove from pan, cut in half diagonally, and serve hot. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 472 cal.; 21 g protein; 32 g carbo.; 29 g fat; 85 mg chol.; 509 mg sodium.

Norwegian Meatballs with Gjetost Sauce

1 pound ground lean pork or lean beef (or 1/2 of each)

1 large egg

3/4 cup regular-strength chicken broth

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup half-and-half (light cream) or milk

1/2 cup shredded gjetost cheese

1/3 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper

Fresh dill sprigs

Mix pork, egg, 1/2 cup of the broth, and flour. Shape into 1-inch balls and place slightly apart in an ungreased 10- by 15-inch pan. …

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