It seems like I’ve been entertaining a lot lately. A little bit more than usual. Which is good – I love having company. But what that means is that I have a lot of extra cheese on hand, because I invariably purchase good cheeses for hors d’oeuvres when friends are coming.
Inspired by a recipe by Jacques Pepin, I decided to use all of the cheeses together and make a cheese log of sorts. Jacques Pepin calls this fromage fort, which literally translates to “strong” cheese.
That’s really a misnomer because there’s nothing strong about this cheese unless you choose to make it strong. It’s all about your choice of cheeses. I used goat cheese, Manchego, and Fontina.
In his book, Chez Jacques, Jacques tells the story about how his father always made crocks of cheeses created by whatever leftover cheeses they had on hand. He also included other things like wine and sometimes garlic. His father’s cheese creations were definitely strong because he aged them for about 1 1/2 weeks in the cellar before serving.
Mrs. Pepin follows the same method of combining leftover cheese to make fromage fort, but unlike the “old” days, uses a food processor. She also adds some cream cheese or cottage cheese if the cheeses are on the dry side. I used some butter, but it’s the same principle.
Cheese Log with Walnuts
I’m not including the weights of the cheeses because the whole point of making this fromage fort, or potted cheese, is using what you have on hand.
I placed the goat cheese and the grated Manchego and Fontina in a large bowl. Then I added some butter just to make things a little softer and smoother. Then I let things set until everything was at room temperature.
I toasted the walnuts. Then I chopped them on a cutting board.
I layed out a piece of plastic wrap on my workspace, and then carefully placed some of the chopped walnuts on the plastic wrap. I did this instead of just pouring the walnuts onto the plastic, because I didn’t want to include the walnut “powder” that comes from chopping the walnuts. I wanted the bigger, cleaner pieces.
This is really good cheese to serve with charcuterie and olives, as well as other cheeses.
note: You don’t have to turn your cheeses into a log. If you prefer, just place the mixture in a crock. But if you stick to the log idea, different nuts can be used with this recipe just as well as different cheeses. Instead of nuts you could use only chopped herbs in the summer. And, you could use dried fruit as well – think dried cranberries and pistachios for the holidays!!