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Substituting Feta Willy-Nilly for Goat Cheese

†I have a recipe for an asparagus/pasta dish with a goat cheese sauce. It seems feta is much more readily available, could it be subbed? What are the consequences?

†We would not make the substitution; feta is likely to be much too salty. It is made in large blocks that are salted, sliced, salted again, then soaked for a month in brine. Some kinds of feta taste of little more than salt*. Thatís not going to add substantially to your dish.

There are two perplexing issues in your question, though. Does the recipe really specify "goat cheese?" There are so many varieties of goatís milk cheese it would be hard to suggest a substitute without knowing which variety is needed. Both flavor and melting characteristics can vary a lot. If itís just "goat cheese," or one of the many varieties of chŤvre, weíd look for a fresh cheese, such as farmerís cheese.

Second, where do you live? Goatís milk cheeses should be available pretty universally. If your supermarket doesnít carry several varieties, there must be other sources available — specialty food stores, natural food stores, farmerís markets, etc. If not, you should just move.

*Some — many — fetas are, of course, delicious. We do not mean to malign feta cheese in general, just those that are oversalted.

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