I was sitting outside this morning basking in the spring sun, reading my copy of “The Gourmet Cookbook,” thinking how much I’ll miss the magazine and how glad I am that I’ve hung onto this book. I’m one of those strange creatures that reads cook books like novels.
My Grandpa used to say that if you let a book fall open, it will automatically open to the “dirty” part. He’d get a kick out of my cookbooks because they really do open to the “dirty” pages. Much as I try to keep things clean, the favorites always end up smudged and well-worn, and tell a history of their own.
Getting back on subject, though, in the Gourmet book I’ve found a recipe for Fromage Fort. It’s a spread made with bits and pieces of different cheeses. Didn’t I say in my leftover section, Smidges and Titches that if all else fails when reviving leftovers, call them by a French name? Fromage Fort just sounds so much fancier than leftover cheese, doesn’t it!
So basically to make Fromage Fort, you take any odds and ends of leftover cheese and chop and/or grate it and mix it up with butter or softer cheese and some wine. If you like Pimento Cheese like this Roasted Red Pepper Spread or my Tequila Spiked Pimento Cheese or have ever made Cheese Balls, I’m sure you’ll see a similarity in the process.
I don’t usually make a pound of Fromage Fort, but just use what I have on hand and scale the recipe down. Although the recipe says white wine, I’ve used both red, white and port in the past. A few choice herbs or a little garlic (use judiciously – they can taste stronger after they’ve sat for awhile) never hurt anything, either. Use your imagination and let your taste buds guide you.
“Fromage Fort (literally, “strong cheese”) is a blend of cheeses flavored with wine or herbs. It’s a terrific way to use up leftover pieces of cheese. Remove and discard the rinds, if any, from 1 pound of assorted cheeses. Grate hard cheeses and cut softer cheeses into 1″ cubes.
- In a food processor, blend cheeses with 3/4 stick of softened butter (use as much or as little as you like; try adding a creamy cheese such as a little goat or cream cheese, ricotta or mascarpone in place of some or all of the butter) and three tablespoons dry white wine until very smooth, about a minute.
- Transfer to a small bowl. Fromage fort can be served immediately, when the consistency is soft; if a firmer consistency is desired, refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.
- Serve with bread or crackers, as is or broil until soft and darkened in places.
- It’s easy to make this with smaller amounts of cheese – just scale the recipe down and go by taste.
- You may wish to use very strong cheeses in smaller amounts.
- Try adding garlic or your favorite herbs.
adapted from Gourmet Cookbook