French women are basically frugal. So, when there’s leftover cheese, they accumulate them and make a Fromage Fort (meaning strong cheese). This is basically a cheese spread made more interesting with the addition of wine, sweet butter, and shallots or garlic. As the combination changes, determined by the bits and pieces of leftover cheese, the result is always different. Spread on crackers or slices of baguettes, or piped on halved cherry tomatoes, Fromage Fort will surprise your guests and cut down on waste too.
In this recipe, I added Cognac, a spirit I use often for cooking.
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
1 pound leftover pieces of cheese which include soft, grated hard cheese, blues and goat’s milk
½ stick sweet butter
¼ cup dry white wine or 1 Tablespoon VS Cognac
¼ cup pecans, chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt, if needed
1. Put the sliced shallot and garlic in the Cuisinart and process for a few seconds.
2. Grate any of the hard cheese. Remove hard rinds and any dried-out sections. Do not worry about removing rinds of soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie or Camembert.
3. Add the pieces of cheese and sweet butter, wine or Cognac, and pepper and process for 30-45 seconds, until the mixture is creamy.
4. Put into a crock, refrigerate for at least one day to allow flavors to marry.
Wine recommendations: As the taste can vary, choose a white (Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño or Riesling) if it is more delicate, or a red if more pronounced (Syrah or Zinfandel)