Tuesday, 5 June 2012 | 17 comments

Fromage fort

I place myself squarely in the category of people who love leftovers. There are few things that makes me happier than to have the previous night’s soup or stir fry to take to the office for the next day’s lunch, or better yet, to give new life in some other form. Some foods, though, lend themselves better to leftover-ing than others. My cheese drawer suffers from this fact. We love having two or three good cheeses on hand, but at some point I always find myself sifting down through layers of tiny aluminum-foiled nubs of cheese, probably mostly rind.
On a scavenger hunt for a checkbook yesterday, I discovered a cache of torn-out recipes from magazines. An old Food & Wine clipping reminded me of fromage fort (literally French for “strong cheese”), one of those astonishing why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? ideas. It is this simple: take your leftover bits of cheeses—the only rule is to not be too heavy handed with strong, blue-veined ones—and process them with a peeled and crushed clove or garlic and white wine or a little vegetable broth. Everything swirls into a gorgeous, aromatic spread, which I enjoyed licked off of my fingers and then spread on crackers. The best, though, was when I got home from the market on Sunday. We arrived bearing little containers of chilled asparagus soup from a local restaurant. Ben spread the fromage fort on bread, and we broiled it for a few minutes. I hadn’t thought the recipe was exciting enough to post here, but as I watched six slices of the fromage fort-spread bread disappear, dipped into cool soup, crumbs on the table, I changed my mind.

Fromage fort

Adapted, barely, from Food & Wine.
The recipe can be adjusted based on how much cheese you have, and if you don’t know how much cheese you have, it really can be done just by adding a little bit of liquid at a time until you achieve your desired consistency.

You will need

    1/2 pound cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces or smaller
    1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat of a knife
    1/4 cup dry white wine or mild- or onion-y tasting vegetable broth (Jacques Pépin’s family evidently used leek broth), or a mix of both
    Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

    Put cheese, garlic, wine or broth, and a generous grind of black pepper into a food processor. Process for 30 seconds. At first, the processing might be a bit turbulent as the cheese breaks up, so hold onto the lid of your food processor. Check for consistency and taste. Salt is usually not needed, but you might want to add. If you want the mixture a bit smoother, blend it a bit longer, but don’t overprocess or it can get a bit gummy. If you think it looks a bit dry and crumbly, add more liquid and process until smooth.

    Serve the fromage fort spread on bread or fruit cold, or broiled until a bit golden and bubbly.

    Packed into jars, the fromage fort can last 1-2 weeks.

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§ 17 responses to Fromage fort

  • I’ve been using this recipe too; it is a great way to make leftovers into something new and exciting. Love your photos! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Me and leftovers have an ongoing love affair that it´s fair to say will never end. Especially pasta; I make double or triple portions just to be able to rewarm it the next day. Something about the concentrated flavor I guess. This use of the cheese bits is a life saver; there never get thrown away but they remain in the fridge forever I don´t know why. I will try it today! The hard, small pieces can be thrown into a tomato sauce to flavor it as it cooks.

  • i frequently have this cheese problem too. this is a great solution — thanks for sharing!

  • Yum, this looks delicious and perfect to use up random bits of cheese. Or even a good reason for me to buy more cheese…I can’t wait to try it!

  • ahh, great way to use leftovers! i’m always trying to figure out new economical/efficient ways to use up leftovers since (1) i love leftovers (2) i can’t bear to throw food away. currently reading tamar adler’s an everlasting meal which really beautifully champions using leftovers… really loving the book!

    http://nataliesophoto.blogspot.com

  • Val

    Perfect simplicity and practical too! I’m always saving the Parmesan rind for soups but never know what to do with the others. Such a great idea!

  • This looks great, but no food processor here… I will settle for admiring your creation.

  • This is brilliant!

  • Oh. My. Word.

    I am very happy you shared this. What a simple but great idea.

  • jesse

    genius!! I have a drawer full of cheese in the fridge with a new destiny haha

  • I also have a cheese drawer full of shreds of cheese wrappings and half-eaten cheeses. This recipe sounds like my perfect solution. I love your idea of broiling the fromage fort until it is golden and bubbly. My mouth is watering just thinking about this. Thanks!

  • At last – a way to use up all the nubby bits of cheese left at the bottom of my cheese box. Lovely. Thanks for posting this.

  • LaurelClaire

    Au-Contraire Pierre….. We are a family of mice. We NEVER have ANY LEFTOVER frommage…….Mom, (me) loves to nibble even on the rinds………My family is from Lyon, and we have enjoyed this growing-up. I will try Pepin’s leek addition though – sounds intriguing. Also, we tend to add some sharp mustard. Viola! Sahah! Abiento!

  • Brilliant. I always accidentally buy way more cheese than we can consume in a decent span of time.

    One question: I don’t have a food processor; do you think I could do this with an immersion blender? Or maybe just microplane all the cheeses, then stir with the wine etc?

    • Hi Diane, This could definitely work with a microplane and then stirring all together. It would be a little less smooth, but still good. I do something similar with just parm, olive oil, and wine. Not sure about the immersion blender; it might be a little too much for one. Thanks! S

  • I find myself pulled back to your blog and the same feeling washes over me. Inspired and ready to nourish my little household. Thank you. I have been on an elimination diet to test food intolerances for 10 weeks – boy did I miss cheese!

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