Marinated Idiazábal Cheese with Rosemary

Spanish cheeses are as varied as they are exquisite. From a smoky Idiazábal to the red-wine-infused Murcia al vino. In Asturias, the blue cheeses range from the powerful Cabrales to the creamy, delicate Gamonedo. In the plains of La Mancha, they make the classic Manchego — perhaps Spain’s best-known cheese. Such variety helps to make Spanish cheese an exceptionally versatile part of our cuisine.

Idiazábal, the national cheese of the Basque country, is made from sheep’s milk and is usually smoked, which gives it an unusual flavor and aroma. To many, it’s the best cheese produced in Spain. This marinade makes the cheese very juicy and flavorful. It’s a tapa that you see in many bars across Spain because it’s simple to create and it keeps the cheese well.

This would work well with any semi-hard cheese, if you can’t find Idiazábal. Add any of your favorite herbs — chances are that it will be great.–José Andrés

Marinated Idiazábal Cheese with Rosemary Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 4


  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 pound Idiazábal cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (buy it)
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups Spanish extra-virgin olive oil (buy it)


  • 1. Split open the garlic cloves by placing them on a chopping board and pressing down hard on them with the base of your hand or with the flat side of a knife.
  • 2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, coating the cheese thoroughly in the oil and herbs.
  • 3. Cover the bowl and leave it overnight at room temperature.
  • 4. Spear the cheese cubes on toothpicks and serve them on a plate.
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