Pearly white and creamy, with the taste of fresh milk, mató is a fresh Spanish cheese that is no more than a day or two old; it is a cheese that is only just barely a cheese. Formerly made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, but now often from cow’s, it is made primarily in Catalonia, where it is a favorite breakfast food, served sprinkled with a little sugar. The most widely available equivalent is probably ricotta, although any fresh curd cheese will work.
Fresh Cheese and Honey with Figs
1 lb. (500 g) mató or whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 to 6 ripe figs, about 6 oz. (185 g) total weight
1/2 cup (6 oz./185 g) light, aromatic honey such as orange blossom
If using mató, cut the cheese into slices 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and arrange on individual plates.
Alternatively, if the cheese is not solid enough to slice, divide it evenly and spoon it onto each plate.
Using a small, sharp knife, remove the woody stems from the figs. Cut each fig into quarters
lengthwise and arrange them, flesh side up, next to the cheese on each plate.
Drizzle the honey evenly over the cheese and figs and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World: Barcelona