A catch-all for cheese leftovers, fromagefort or “strong cheese” is a great way to use up smallpieces of cheese. You can clean out the cheese compartment ofyour refrigerator, and at the same time create something wonderfulto eat. Serve it with bread, crackers, or slices of olive oil-brushedbaguette.
Recipe: Fromage Fort
1 pound assorted leftover cheeses, at roomtemperature
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (such as thyme, sage, flat-leaf parsley,tarragon, marjoram, or basil)
1 clove garlic (optional)
Makes about 2 1/2 cups, serving 10 to 12.
Note of Interest:In France, the home of fromage fort, it is a little more elaboratethan simply leftover cheese. Traditionally leftover cheeses wheremixed together then allowed to ferment in liquid such as milkor vegetable broth. Wine or oil was then added to stabilize themixture, and herbs, salt, and more wine were added to seasonit. It was often put in a stoneware pot to age, and when it wastime to eat it, apparently the word “fort” took ona whole new meaning. Fromage fort is still made in France, butusually with just one cheese-which is determined by the regionwhere it is being made. Because of its runny consistency, itis sold by the ladleful. For this version try to balance thetypes of cheese you use. For example, don’t use more than oneespecially salty cheese, as it will make the mixture too salty.Don’t use blue cheese (or if you do don’t use a lot) unless youwant that to be the dominant flavor; it will overtake all otherflavors. Because of fromage fort’s relatively neutral character(depending on the type of cheese you use), it can be livenedup with almost any type of herb or flavoring you like–or noneat all, since the combination of cheeses, no matter what theyare, take on a flavor of their own.
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