Caciocavallo, which means "cheese on horseback", gets its name from the manner in which the cheese is always tied together in a rope and dangled over a wooden board to drain and age. An Italian type of pasta filata cheese made out of sheep's or cow's milk, it is produced throughout Southern Italy and the Balkans.
The history of Caciocavallo goes back to 500 BC when Hippocrates first mentioned the cleverness of the Greeks in making it. Cheeses similar to Caciocavallo are common all over the Balkans and Southern Italy. In fact, Ragusano DOP from Sicily had to drop the name Caciocavallo Ragusano to achieve the DOP label.
Continuous exposure to humidity in the caves and aging develops sharp, spicy flavours in Caciocavallo. With persistent aging, the cheese picks up intense, earthy undertones and fruity aromas. Along the way, it turns from a milky white to a darker yellow in colour and becomes more salty. The result is a cheese with profound tasting notes and perfect accompaniment to a glass of Primitivo red wine.
The recipe... Caciocavallo all"Argentiera
INGREDIENTS (2 people):
• 200 g caciocavallo cheese, semistagionato (semi-matured, 4-6 months, and I suggest slices of about 1 cm thick)
• extra virgin olive oil
• white wine vinegar
• 2 anchovies, salt cured (or 4 fillets if kept in olive oil)
• dried oregano
• 1 clove of garlic
• some flour
1. Cut the cheese, then pass it in some flour, not too much.
2. Take a pan, better if in iron/cast iron, and heat some extra virgin olive oil, not too much. then add the crushed garlic.
3. Meanwhile take a small glass and add 2 fingers of extra virgin olive oil and 2 fingers of white wine vinegar (or a bit less). Add also the dried oregano and mix.
4. Now remove the garlic and add the slices of caciocavallo in the pan, at medium heat. Cook for few minutes until there is some crust on the bottom. Then turn it on the other side. It will be crunchy outside and softer in the middle.
5. When it’s ready place the cheese in your dishes, then set the heat higher and add the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and oregano mixture. Cook until reduced (1 minute probably is enough), and then pour it over the caciocavallo cheese.
6. Add also the anchovies.
Borgovivo's suggestions for a perfect Caciocavallo all'Argentiera