Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Leftover Cheese Spread

December 2009 378

Got an odd remnant of roquefort, a small piece of parmesan and a little chip of cheddar sitting in your fridge? Or maybe a teensy bit of brie and a bite of boursin? You know, the odds and ends that are too small to serve to guests on a cheese tray, but not so large that you can ignore them either. This Christmas, we received a large amount of really fine cheeses from around the world, courtesy of my visiting brother-in-law and my son.

After a wine and cheese gathering with friends, a fair amount was consumed. One of the cheeses in particular has become my new favorite – a triple cream brie called brillat savarin. It was the smallest cheese on the board, and it was covered with bits of fruit that I originally thought were cranberries, but turned out to be papaya. It’s the only cheese that was totally gone by the end of the night – mostly due to the fact that it was positioned right next to me and my gluttony took over, I confess. Here’s a shot of the soft cheese tray, including the brillat savarin at the bottom left.

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And here are the hard cheeses that made it onto the tray. I kept an aged gruyere in the fridge for another use. I didn’t get a shot of the entire tray, so there are a couple you can’t see. But what you can see is how much cheese we received and how dangerous this was going to be to my hips.

December 2009 340 That’s where the cheese spread comes in. The leftover bits were not large enough to make an attractive display the second time around on a cheese tray. The humboldt fog blue cheese made its way into a cheese souffle (to be posted later), and the rest was reincarnated into a cheese spread. The recipe was inspired by one from Jacques Pepin called fromage fort (strong cheese), but I tweaked it a bit with the addition of herbs and brandy.

Just grate the cheeses in a food processor, add some white wine and brandy or sherry, some garlic and herbs and voila! You’ve got a great spread for crackers or bread rounds just in time for New Year’s Eve.

The recipe makes about 2 – 2 1/2 cups of cheese spread. You can cut the recipe in half if you don’t have as much leftover cheese as I did. From my cache (about 1 pound), I divided the spread into two separate crocks and plan to freeze one for later use.

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Leftover Cheese Spread

  • 1 pound leftover cheese, with rind sliced off and cut into pieces  (I used a variety of robiola, morbier, affine au chablis, Wisconsin grand queso, beemster aged gouda and even a little cream cheese left over from the smoked salmon Christmas morning breakfast)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 T. brandy
  • 1 T. chopped fresh thyme
  • black pepper, salt to taste

Grate the hard cheeses using a grater or food processor disc. Add the soft cheeses, and the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until everything is blended to the desired smoothness. Spoon into a crock or small bowl and let it sit for at least an hour, or preferably overnight, to blend the flavors.



  1. What a great idea! I always seem to have stray bits of nice cheeses that I don't want to waste.

  2. Linda I would be in cheese heaven!What a fabulous array of cheese!

    I love going to Murray's Cheese hop or Artisanal and buying a hunk of an unusual exotic cheese to savor. The tripe cream brie that you liked so much sounds so decadent! yum!

    I've sometimes used leftover cheeses in a fondue, but a mixed cheese spread sounds fabulous and
    I like the idea of being able to freeze it for use in the future.

    Wishing you and your family a Happy New year!

  3. Oh yum, totally making my mouth water!

  4. I think the reason we bought a big, new refrigerator was for the deli drawer. You should see my collection of cheeses! LOVE this idea! I justify my cheese addiction in that it's dairy, and dairy is good for our bones. Good excuse, huh?

  5. Good idea!
    Now if we can come with a halibut spread! (and those are the nice Italian pottery dishes I was referring to!).

  6. what a great idea! There's always chunks of cheese lying around with no where to go. Perfect!

    Btw...your cheese display is beautiful

  7. Hi Linda, nice to meet you. My hips are shouting NO!! but who cares, I don't think I have ever seen such a delicious array of cheeses n fruit on one board. I am now on the lookout for that Savarin, meanwhile I'll dig out all our leftovers for your amazing cheese spread recipe. Happy New Year, Kathy.

  8. ottimo e belle le ceramica รจ italiana vero? un bacione e mille auguri!!!!

  9. My husband would love this spread! What a great idea. Also, I can't believe this heritage coincidence - my father is from Emilia-Romagna and my mother was from Calabria! My husband family instead comes from Piedmont. Saluti!

  10. That cheese tray was fabulous! I would never leave it, there would be no leftovers to make this cheese spread, but hey, what a great idea! A Very Happy New Year to you Linda!

  11. I'm totally doing this. Tonight. Boy are you ever timely! Gorgeous spread! I adore cheese trays and could live on them. Felice anna nuovo!

  12. excellent tip for used cheese - I like to nibble on the hard rinds and bits till they are all gone but I believe I will save a little and make this spread idea.

  13. Felice Anno Nuovo, Linda. I left something for you on my blog. Many thanks for all the recipes and delights.

  14. What a great idea! I can't tell you how often I've thrown those bits and pieces away. Glad to have discovered your blog :)

  15. I love that Savarin too!

    We need to find some write-on cheese tags! I don't want the ceramic kind (not enough room), but something disposable. This year I spent a lot of time fashioning them from Avery file folder labels and wooden picks, but it could have been much easier...