In French-speaking Switzerland, you will find soft, little wheels of cheese with a rind known as Tomme. Of all the cantons in Suisse Romande, Tomme cheeses made in the Swiss canton of Vaud are probably the most well recognized. However, versions also exist in Neuchâtel, Fribourg and Geneva. Cheesemakers will sometimes add ingredients to their Tommes, such as cumin seeds, truffles or ail des ours (bear’s garlic).
Tomme tastes wonderful on its own or with some crusty bread. I have also received an entire wheel of Tomme on top of a plate of rösti. When I cut into the cheese, it oozed over the potatoes for an ultimate comfort food experience.
Another popular way to serve this cheese is when you turn it into a Tomme Panée. You can use up leftover stale bread to make breadcrumbs. When you season them with some herbs and spices, it makes an easy coating for the cheese. For extra flavor, you can also add two slices of bacon, as shown below. What could be better than fried cheese?
How to make Tomme Panée:
50-75 g homemade breadcrumbs
a handful of fresh herbs (chives, parsley, etc.), finely chopped
salt, pepper and paprika, to taste
2 Tomme cheeses
1 egg, beaten
4 slices of bacon
1-2 tablespoons butter
1. In a bowl, whisk the breadcrumbs, chopped herbs, salt, pepper and paprika together until well combined.
2. One at a time, generously coat all sides of the Tomme in the beaten egg. Then, place the Tomme in the bowl with the bread crumb mixture and roll it around until it becomes completely coated with this mixture. Repeat this process for a second coating of egg and bread crumbs.
3. Next, wrap two slices of bacon around the cheese, tucking in the ends.
4. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the breaded cheese on either side for about 5 minutes, until they become golden brown. Be careful when you flip the cheese, so the rind doesn’t break, which will cause its contents to escape prematurely.
5. Remove them from the pan. Serve immediately. Suggested accompaniments: boiled new potatoes, fresh arugula, tomatoes and radishes.