There is no such thing as “leftover cheese” but, if you are a cheese collector such as myself, you probably find yourself with little nubs and ends of various dairy treasures. You could keep making increasingly tiny cheese plates, or you could follow in the footsteps of Jacques Pépin and make fromage fort, a cheese spread that might as well be called “snobby DIY Boursin.”
This is part of Eating Trash With Claire, a Lifehacker series where Claire Lower convinces you to transform your kitchen scraps into something edible and delicious.
“Fromage fort” is French for “strong cheese,” and it is perhaps one of my favourite spreads to make. It’s kind of a
cheese choose your own adventure situation, with a different, but always delicious, outcome each time. There are no real rules here; you just need cheese, wine, garlic, butter, and some herbs (if you have them).
The exact origins of the spread are unclear, but it seems to have been created in the south of France as a way to use up cheesy scraps, and Pépin grew up enjoying father’s version, which was made of a variety of cheeses, white wine, crushed garlic, and his mother’s leek broth.
You don’t have to use leek broth—or any broth for that matter—but you should definitely include all the other stuff. Start by removing any inedible rinds and cutting the softer cheeses into small (1/2-inch or so) cubes. Grate the harder cheeses and add everything to the bowl of your food processor, along with some wine, a couple of tablespoons of butter, a garlic clove or two, and a few sprigs of herb (parsley works adds a verdant note with distracting from the cheese). You can use any cheese you like (and have), but be careful with strong cheeses; a spread made with 50% blue cheese will taste overwhelmingly of that one cheese, and the beauty of this spread lies in the balance.
Of course, do not feel limited by the recipe below. Want a little tang in your fromage? Add a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche. Not feeling white wine? Add red, or even port; your cheese will still taste delicious, and it will be very pretty. A splash or vermouth wouldn’t suck, either. There really is no wrong way to do this, and don’t you let anyone tell you differently.
What you’ll need:
- 8 ounces cheese of your choice
- 1 ounce of white wine
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 garlic clove
- A few sprigs of parsley
- Add everything to the bowl of a food processor and pulse it all together until you have a cohesive spread, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is nice and smooth.
- You can serve it immediately, let it firm up in the fridge, or even roll it into a cheese ball. Fromage fort is great on crackers, chips, and breads, especially if broiled, but I’m a big fan of smearing it on radishes. (Not for health reasons; I just really like radishes.)