Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fromage Fort and Leftover Cheese

A few years ago, I ran across Steve Jenkins' recipe for fromage fort -- French for "strong cheese". I think it was in his original Cheese Primer. Now, every year after a large holiday party, I know that I have something useful to do with all those bits and pieces that are always left over from a cheese board no matter how carefully you plan. This year, I made fromage fort with 7 kinds of leftover cheese including drunken goat, morbier, manchego, hunstman, a sharp cheddar, a triple creme brie, and a bit of slightly dried out chevre. I didn't have any white wine, but I did have half a bottle of leftover champagne in the fridge from a few days ago. (I know, don't ask me how I ended up with *leftover* champagne. That never happens.) Add a bit of fresh garlic and some freshly ground pepper and we have a rich cheese spread that is best spread on crusty French bread slices and popped under the broiler until it bubbles.

My favorite part? It's very, very easy. Here's the recipe from Steve Jenkins:

To make fromage fort, gather together 1 pound of leftover cheese (3 kinds is enough, 6 or 7 will be even better). Trim off any mold or very dried out parts from the surface. Toss 3 or 4 peeled cloves of garlic into a food processor and process for several seconds until coarsely chopped. Add the cheese to the garlic along with ½ cup dry white wine and at least 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Process until the mixture becomes soft and creamy, about 30 seconds. Remove the mixture from the processor and transfer it to a crock or bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
This is much better a day after when the flavors have had a chance to meld. Also, experience has told me to avoid too much blue cheese. One year, my "strong cheese" was too strong. It's also great to give away -- but needs to be refrigerated and eaten fairly soon.


Pat Baude said...

Boy was this a good idea! The result (from Tallegio, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Piave, Fontina and a Humboldt Fog --which of these things doesn't belong?) was so good that little broiled toasts made with it quite upstaged the rest of Christmas dinner.

braingirl said...

Fantastic! Glad you liked it! I used the rest of mine in a savory bread pudding. I had a couple of cups left and since the recipe called for a couple of cups of swiss, I threw in my leftover cheese instead with fresh herbs, bread, eggs, and milk. Sometimes, I love leftovers!