Thursday, August 2, 2018

Fort Fromage

Do the words Fort Fromage mean anything to you? If they don’t, then pull up a chair, you are going to love this blog post. And before I say anything else, let me say you’re welcome. That’s how much you are going to love this.

I can’t tell you how many times when the late Mr. O-P and I were planning a dinner party that we completely forgot to consider snacks to serve with a cocktail before the meal. This would invariably involve my sending Mr. O-P to Sam’s hours, sometimes minutes, before guests were supposed to arrive to pick up a big jar of mixed nuts, assorted cheeses, and perhaps a container of hummus. This was always a frantic situation because Mr. O-P was easily distracted. Case in point, I will never forget the night we were fixing a birthday dinner for my dad. All Jim had to do was go out and buy dessert. I thought I had everything else covered so I sent him out around noon to pick up dessert. Four and a half hours later he came home with a sprinkler and two tickets to Baltimore. I couldn’t believe it. Not only that, but he was pleased with this purchase.

“Who wants to go to Baltimore?” I asked through gritted teeth.

“We can fly to Baltimore, rent a car, and drive to Virginia Beach,” he said with a smug smile.

Okay, I was softening to this, “But that sounds a bit expensive,” I countered.

“Not when you get the tickets for $30 apiece,” he reported.

“Are we riding in the cargo hold?” I asked, horrified. Knowing some of the strange way in which we had traveled in the past, I thought this might be a possibility.

“No,” he said, “It was a lightning deal. I got us two round-trip tickets to Baltimore for $30 each, and I got the senior discount on mine, so it really only cost $27.”

I blinked. “But what about dessert?” I asked him, not quite so willing to let him off the hook.

“Don’t worry, I’m heading out for it now,” he assured me.

I looked at him. “I guess you know they will be here in 10 minutes,” I snarled.

“I’ll be back in time,” he assured me, and he was off.

Where am I going with this you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. Had I known about Fort Fromage back in those days, I wouldn’t have worried about sending him out, last minute or otherwise, to pick up a pre-dinner nosh. Fort Fromage is something any of us can put together with the leftovers that we have in our fridge. You heard me, leftovers! Not only that, but it’s delicious. It can also be made ahead, and it only gets better with age.

I first learned of Fort Fromage when I read that a local restaurant was serving delicious sandwiches that were nothing more than slices of crusty bread, spread with Fort Fromage, and topped with pickled vegetables. At that time, with a crisper full of vegetables, the pickled vegetable thing quite appealed to me. But, having never heard of Fort Fromage before, I had to investigate. There are a variety of recipes — this one is based upon Jacques Pépin’s — but, truth of the matter is, that no two versions are ever going to be the same. The reason is that Fort Fromage is made up of a clove of garlic, dry white wine, and a half-pound of whatever cheese bits you happen to have left over in your fridge.

How many times have you looked at those little too-small-to-grate cheese bits and had no clue as to what to do with them? Here is your answer. Weigh out a half a pound of whatever cheese scraps you happen to have, toss them into the
food processor with a clove of garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and pulse until it’s finely ground. Then, with the motor of the processor running, drizzle in 4-5 tablespoons of dry white wine until you end up with a creamy spread. How easy does that sound? Well, it is! Mine consisted of a little chunk of Brie, about a tablespoon of feta (boy was I glad to get that container out of the fridge!), some non-smoked provolone, and cheddar. It is absolutely wonderful! I wish I’d had this recipe before Jim passed away. He would have loved the quirkiness of it, the convenience of it, and because we were such cheese lovers and always had a wide variety in our fridge, we could have put some together every time we had guests — even the unexpected spur-of-the-moment ones —, and each time it would have been special. Well, at least I can enjoy it now, and share this recipe with you.

It is wonderful as is spread on crackers, pieces of toasted baguette, or with crudités, or, for a heartier snack, can be spread on top of slices of crusty bread, and broiled until the cheese melts. Delicious!
Fort Fromage

1/2 pound assorted cheese scraps
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (optional)

Place cheese parts into a food processor and pulse 6-7 times until finely ground. Add garlic and pulse again.  Then, with the processor running, stream in white wine until a nice, spreadable consistency is reached. If you have used cheese that is particularly dry (as in the case of feta), add a dollop of mayo for creaminess.  Place into a lidded container and refrigerate for at least two hours. It gets better when refrigerated overnight.

Keep it cool and serve it attractively in this Chilled Cheese or Dip Server.

Another fabulous, spreadable cheese to keep on hand is this Homemade Boursin. It kicks the packaged variety to the curb and is far less expensive.

This post is linked to:

This post contains affiliate links.


sandy said...

what a great story!! this was fun to read and wow, another one I'm showing to Mike. thanks.

Miz Helen said...

What a great story and a great appetizer! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday.
Miz Helen