As cheese is expensive, Jacques says you shouldn't waste it and shares this easy recipe that uses up leftover bits.
Jacques says, "A specialty of my father, fromage fort (“strong cheese”) is made of leftover pieces of cheese – any kind – that are pureed in a food processor and seasoned with garlic and white wine. It’s best on bread or toast. As a child, I would spread the cheese mixture on a thick slab of country bread, impaled the bread on a fork, and then hold it in the fireplace, with the cheese side as close as possible to the fire. When the cheese bubbled and a nice glaze formed, I would rub the crusty cheese with a piece of butter and eat it piping hot. Although I have a strong attachment to that early memory, I find that the toasts glaze just as well when placed under the broiler for a few minutes. Refrigerated, this original and economical cheese combination will keep for a week or two. If you use only unsalted cheeses, or a large amount of unsalted farmer’s cheese, for example, you may want to add a little salt. Usually, however, the cheese itself is salty enough so that additional salt is not needed."
PRO TIP: This spread can be frozen and defrosted once ready to serve.
And not only is Jacques a culinary legend, but he’s also an amazing artist — and his new book Menus: A Book for Your Meals and Memories combines the two. (It made this year's list of Oprah’s Favorite Things!)
Recipe adapted from "Essential Pepin" by Jacques Pepin. Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pepin. Used with permission by Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic
- 1 pound leftover cheeses (a combination of as many hard and soft varieties as you like—such as Brie, cheddar, Swiss, blue, mozzarella, and/or goat), trimmed if necessary to remove dried-out places or mold
- ½ cup dry white wine, leek broth, or vegetable broth, or a mixture of these
- Salt, if needed
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Bread or toast, for serving
With the motor running, drop the garlic into a food processor and process for a few seconds, until coarsely chopped. Add the cheeses, white wine and/or broth, salt (if needed), and pepper, and process for 30 to 45 seconds, until the mixture is soft and creamy. Transfer to a crock, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, spread generously on slices of bread or toast and eat cold; or arrange on a tray and broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese before serving.