Olympic Eats

As you watch the Winter Olympic coverage on TV, do you stop and ponder what all those athletes and spectators were eating during their stay in Vancouver?

Me neither.

But evidently, according to a press release in my e-mail, some of them are eating goat cheese, courtesy of Woolwich Dairy, a goat-cheese company with facilities in Canada and the U.S. Woolwich donated more than 330 pounds of fresh unripened goat cheese to be utilized in a Panini being served at the Ontario Pavilion in downtown Vancouver.

If the thought of a goat cheese Panini gets your mouth watering — or if you just want to munch on some authentic Olympic fare while you watch the games on TV, these PR folks have provided the recipe.

Actually, the combination sounds kind of good, although I’m not sure the unripened goat cheese will be found at any of our local markets. I did a bit of online research and found suggestions that yogurt cheese can be substituted for fresh goat cheese: Line a colander with cheesecloth or paper toweling and dump in a container of plain yogurt. Put colander in frig with a bowl underneath and let drain overnight. Voila! — yogurt cheese. Or you could probably replace the goat cheese with all ricotta.

Since most of us don’t own a Panini grill, I would suggest that the George Foreman variety would work, or the Panini can be made on the stovetop, weighing it down with a second pan filled with heavy canned goods.

Olympic Panini

In a bowl, blend ¼ cup Chevrai unripened goat cheese, softened, with ¼ cup fresh ricotta cheese and ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning.

Slice 1 tomato and place slices on hot grill to slightly char; set aside.

Using 2 focaccia buns (if you can’t find buns, try slicing a focaccia loaf crosswise, then quarter), brush one side of each slice with olive oil. Place 2 focaccia slices oil side down on work surface covered with waxed paper and divide the goat cheese mixture, 2 cooked or grilled boneless chicken breasts, chopped, 1 cup baby spinach leaves and ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese between each. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and top with remaining focaccia halves, oiled side up, gently pressing to pack.

Place sandwiches in grill, close the top plate and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 2 sandwiches.