It is looking like tofu but it is tasting like cow. That’s basically all you need to know about sérac. Sérac is a by-product from the cheese production and mainly consumed in alpine regions of Switzerland and France.
When manufacturing cheeses such as Gruyère or Beaufort the milk is heated with enzymes and rennet making the milk coagulate and separate. The flavourful and fatty stuff will become cheese and what remains is the whey. Yellow-greenish in colour, water-like consistency and very low in fat but rich in protein. After heating the whey up and adding another acid, the whey separates again. The firm granules are pressed and there’s your sérac. Sometimes herbs or salt may be added and the sérac can also be smoked.
You can use sérac in savoury and sweet dishes, hot or cold. Sérac resembles the Italian ricotta or the French faisselle but with much less fat giving it a firmer and drier texture. It can be made from cow, sheep or goat’s milk. The taste is quite subtle, but it does not really have a typical cheese flavour. The best description is probably the one I had when I ate my first sérac five years ago: it tastes like cow!
In Switzerland it is pretty popular, you’ll even find it in medium-sized supermarkets. But the best one’s are probably to be found in local farmers’ shops or directly at a milk producing farm.
My favourite way to eat sérac is to fry it in a pan with some butter and salt and to serve it on top of a summer salad. Due to its firm texture and low fat content, the sérac will keep its shape and become crisp and golden brown when frying. A delight!