My close friend, Jessica, turned me on to Armenian string cheese a few years ago. She recommended it shortly after I met her, during a lunchtime excursion to Sahadi’s Middle Eastern market, near our office in Brooklyn. After trying it, I knew from that point on that she would be one of my foodie gurus. It is that good. Armenian string cheese is similar to mozzarella, but it is slightly saltier and more satisfying. It comes in a thick braided knot, which you unravel and pull apart into substantial strands. Some people soak the cheese to remove some of the salt, but I like it unsoaked. You can buy flavored Armenian string cheese, such as the the one flecked with caraway seeds (the seeds found in rye bread), or you can make your own marinade. Similar to marinating fresh mozzarella, Armenian string cheese absorbs the flavors very well and makes for a quick and tasty appetizer. I served this cheese as part of a make-ahead Mediterranean mezze menu, and it’s a nice addition to any appetizer assortment or tapas-style spread. Serve it with little forks so people can skewer pieces and eat them as is, or serve them with flat bread. Marinated Armenian string cheese is best made in advance to give the cheese a chance to absorb the flavors. I usually make it at least 1 day ahead, but a few hours of marinating will still give you good flavor.
- 13 oz Armenian string cheese, pulled apart
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- zest of 1 lemon
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to coat cheese. Marinate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days in advance.