Certified Cheese Expert Matt Caputo, owner of Caputo's Deli, tells us what cheese to buy right now and why.
There are many things about Italian food that are totally misunderstood in America. Asiago is one of them. The sweet and nutty American version I grew up with is proof that my linguistics professor was right. Words are arbitrary. While it is not a bad cheese, American and Italian asiagos are not made the same, they don't taste the same, they don't feel the same.
It is essentially like calling a Ford a Fiat. "Why is it called Asiago?" you ask? Great question. I would also like to know, so if you find out why this practice is legal, be sure to let me know.
Now, let me introduce you to Asiago Pressato from Northern Italy. A soft, buttery and mild cheese with an open texture (tiny holes) similar to Havarti. Clean, humble, rich but with a tiny hint of distinctively Italian lipase (lipase lends sharpness).
It's wonderful on its own for appetizers. Use it to lend depth to a panini without overpowering your meat. But my favorite use is as an afternoon or late night snack with fresh pears.