The Willems family have been making Coolea on their farm in Macroom, Co Cork since 1979. They moved from the Netherlands to Ireland in the 1970’s. Gouda was impossible to get locally at the time so they wrote home for a recipe and the rest is history. This is a mild, semi firm cheese when young and is intensely full flavored when mature.
3 Tbsp shaved Coolea Cheese
1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin
bunch of arugula
8oz grape tomatoes (red or yellow or both)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup pecans
2 Tbsp melted butter
milled black pepper
Shave the fennel bulb finely , either with a mandolin or sharp knife.
Wash and dry the arugula.
In a bowl, whisk the oil and lemon juice, and set it aside.
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
In a small bowl mix together the pecans, melted butter, salt and pepper. Spread them on the baking sheet. Set this sheet aside until ready to put in the oven.
Wash and dry the tomatoes. Place them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with olive oil and kosher salt. Roast on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes.
At the same time put the pecans on the bottom shelf, removing after 3-4 minutes and allow to cool.
Allow tomatoes to cool.
In a large serving bowl place fennel and arugula, add tomatoes and pecans. Shave Coolea Cheese on top, pour in dressing and toss.