This time of year with all the cooking and hosting, one can find oneself with a plethora of leftover cheese bits. Yes, this can be a great problem to have. But rather than slowly making your way through them by snacking, you can turn them into a party appetizer. Enter: fromage fort.
Fromage fort means “strong cheese.” It’s a technique we learned from Jacques Pépin to use up leftover cheese.
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The principle is simple: Cut leftover nubs of cheese into rough 1-inch chunks and combine them with dry white wine, herbs, and aromatics, and process them in a food processor until smooth. For half a pound of cheese, I use 3 tablespoons of wine and about a teaspoon each of garlic and thyme, but you can adjust to your own taste.
Most cheeses work, but avoid incredibly strong cheeses like blue cheese, which can take over. Unsurprisingly, the bigger the amount of a softer cheese like Brie or even cream cheese, the softer the final product. More firm cheeses yield a thicker spread (but you can always add in more wine or a tablespoon of butter).
The whole process is very economical. You can throw in edible rinds, but you might need to blitz them a little longer to get the spread smooth. And if you want, feel free to use that white wine that’s been open a few days in the fridge!
After blending, taste the fromage fort, and if it needs seasoning, add extra salt or pepper. Some people like to add a little cayenne. Part of the beauty is that no batch is exactly the same—but it’s always delicious.