This one is so easy I feel a little guilty. I recently hosted a wine tasting at which I served a selection of cheeses.
OK, fine, I did more than taste the wine. It was all I could do to toss the remaining cheese hunks into a plastic container and shove that into the fridge before my face hit the pillow. Four weeks later, I unearthed the container and found a triple-cream Brie, some aged Gouda and a little nugget of Fourme d’Ambert that were beginning to assume one another’s identity.
I had a hazy memory of a French cheese dip that was made for just such a situation. A quick search led me to fromage fort. Traditionally, it’s made with white wine, garlic, fresh herbs and black pepper. I skinned the Brie and pinched off hunks that I dropped into the food processor along with the Fourme d’Ambert and the aforementioned wine and seasonings (thyme being the only fresh herb I had on hand). The Gouda was hard, so I grated it with a rasp—one of my all-time favorite kitchen tools. I ran the processor for a few minutes and sampled the results, which were a little boozy. I had some leftover Ricotta and a rapidly aging Romano in the fridge, so in they went to provide balance.
Now it was starting to taste good. Never one to leave well enough alone, I decided to see what I could do to improve upon the flavor and create a nice complement to tomorrow night’s Sazeracs and gumbo. Dried mustard, cayenne, smoked paprika and just a pinch of sugar created a well-balanced cheese dip that you could eat with a spoon. I did.