Sometimes a recipe sticks with you. I’m talking about when a recipe makes so much sense and fits perfectly into your life that you can’t imagine a world without it. One of these such recipes for me is fromage fort. I first read about the cheese spread in the April 2007 issue of Food & Wine magazine. I’ve been making it ever since.
According to the article and original recipe, which was created by the legendary Jacques Pepin, fromage fort is the chicest way to use up leftover cheese. You simply throw a bunch of cheese in a food processor, season it with some wine, garlic, and herbs (if you’ve got them), blitz it all together, spread on bread and pop it in the oven until it’s warm, melted, and toasted.
The resulting snack is always a crowd-pleaser and is surprisingly elegant for how easy it is to put together. One key ingredient to fromage fort is spontaneity. I’ve never gone to the grocery store and purchased the cheese to make it. I make it as the French would: when I find that my fridge is full of a bunch of little cheese odds and ends.
For example, earlier this week, a friend from out of town was visiting. She showed up with a bottle of vodka and informed me that another old friend was coming over. Our happy hour required appetizers and I knew there was a bunch of random cheese in my fridge leftover from the Valentine’s Day events I hosted. I also knew that I was leaving for vacation very soon and fromage fort would be the best way to use up the cheese. I ran to Whole Foods for a baguette and we were enjoying these fragrant filling crostini in less than 30 minutes.
Below is the recipe; it’s much less structured than my usual recipes because you can make it how ever you like. In the past, I’ve added herbs such as basil and seasonings like smoked paprika. It’s really a versatile spread, so use your imagination and make it your own.
3/4 cup – 1 cup cheese pieces (when I made this version I used 1 cup of the following cheese: brie, blue cheese crumbles, cheddar cheese slices, fontina, and parmesan)
2 tablespoons white wine
1 garlic clove
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 of a baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
- In a food processor, combine the cheese with the wine and garlic clove. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Process until you have a mostly smooth paste, about 30 seconds.
- Taste the fromage fort. If it’s too thick, add a little more wine. If it’s too watery, throw in some more cheese.
- Spread about 1 heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture on to each baguette slice. Place the baguette covered cheese slices on a the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the bread is toasted and the cheese is bubbling and brown. Enjoy immediately.