July 24, 2007

La Fête du Fromage - Roquefort


Voilà Roquefort

Who hasn't heard of it? This very strong cheese seems to garner very strong opinions. People either love it or hate it. Personally, I'm not a huge fan, but I do love to cook with it.

A blue veined cheese from the Causse du Larzac has been enjoyed since the Roman times but it was during the Middle Ages that Charles VI granted a small village in the south of France a monopoly on aging Roquefort in the local caves. It is made from the unpasteurized milk of the Lacaune ewe and matured in the Combalou caves that surround the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in the Aveyron département. The blue veining develops after the rind is pierced forty times and the cheese is left to mature in the caves where the penicillium roqueforti bacteria go to work.

At least three months of aging is necessary under the AOC guidelines, but it is usually allowed to mature for four months. Roquefort is an intensely flavored, distinctively salty and complex cheese. It is crumbly and damp, yet buttery, and melts beautifully on the tongue. The interior is creamy white with blue grey veins and has no rind.
All genuine Roquefort bears a little red sheep on it's label.

Enjoy with a glass of Sauternes or Banyuls.

Caramelized Onion, Roquefort and Parmesan Tartserves 6

For the Pâte Brisée
  • 18 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon chilled butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the flour, butter, and salt.
  2. Pulse several times to form pea-sized lumps.
  3. Add the vinegar and eggs and pulse to form a moist, crumbly mixture. Do not over process.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a work surface and knead a few times by hand.
  5. Form the dough into a disk, wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
For the Tart
  • 1 recipe pâte brisée (or store bought puff pastry--follow instructions for pre-baking)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and cut into julienne strips (about 7 cups)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Make the tart
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. Remove the pâte brisée from the refrigerator and when warm enough to be pliable, roll out to about 1/8 inch thick.
  3. Place the brisée into a 10 inch tart mold, fitting it around the bottom and the sides
  4. Bake the shell for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cool.
  5. In a sauté pan over low heat, melt the butter.
  6. When bubbly, add the onions and cook down for 45 minutes, or until the onions are very brown and sweet, stirring from time to time to prevent the onions from sticking. Let cool.
  7. In a bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, crème fraîche, egg and egg yolk to make a custard.
  8. Stir in the salt and pepper and set aside. (You may want to use less salt, depending on the saltiness of the Roquefort.)
  9. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C).
  10. Spread the cooked onions on the bottom of the tart shell.
  11. Sprinkle crumbled Roquefort over the onions.
  12. Pour the custard mixture over.
  13. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top of the custard
  14. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  15. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Riana Lagarde said...

Yum, I love Rochefort on everything. How lucky are we to live near by--well kind of a drive, but close enough!

Jennifer said...

And how lucky you are to have a new cheese store just down the street! I'm jealous!

Betty Carlson said...

I found it! The recipe is duly bookmarked. Thanks!

Jennifer said...

Let me know how you like it!

Betty Carlson said...

Hey, I'm making it this very day because Roquefort-hating daughter is at a friend's!

I think I'll write a post about it too...you'll be link loved, of course...it's looking great!

Jennifer said...

I hope you love it as much as we did!

Betty Carlson said...

We just finished eating and it was absolutely delicious. Simple to make, too...and one of those dishes where I will always have the necessary ingredients on hand. So I'm sure it will be a keeper. Merci beaucoup!