Cooking with Fromage: Comfort Cuisine

The Cheeses of France Marketing Council and the Culinary Cuisine

Institute of America Announce Their “Cooking with Fromage: Comfort

Cuisine” Project…and Recipes!

By Beth Franklin

Petite Chevre Pizzas

Petite Chevre Pizzas

An innovative new project, “Cooking with Fromage: Comfort Cuisine,” has been formally launched by The Cheeses of France Marketing Council (www.cheesesoffrance.com) and The Culinary Institute of America (www.ciachef.edu), the world’s premier culinary college. The Comfort Cuisine project offers a collection of easy-to-prepare, tempting recipes that feature French cheeses and put a creative twist on standard American recipes. All of the recipes are geared toward being “home cook-friendly.”

The recipe collection, complete with photos and detailed instructions, is expected to translate into an increased awareness of the pleasures of cooking with fromage selections ~ and into greater amounts and varieties of all-natural cheeses from France hitting many more American dinner tables.

Notes Scott Samuel, Chef Instructor with The Culinary Institute of America, “Awareness of the varieties and availability of French cheeses in America is spreading, but the Comfort Cuisine recipes we’ve developed will illustrate what a difference actually cooking with fromage at mealtime can make to the final dish. Cheeses from France serve as the essential ingredient in our new Comfort Cuisine recipes, in that they add a lot of rich, unique flavors that really enhance the meal.”

Michael Collins, marketing director for The Cheeses of France campaign in the U.S adds, “Active consumers today are hungry for great-tasting, easy-to-prepare, healthy dishes. They want more innovative, world flavors at mealtime, but not with recipes that would take hours to prepare on busy weeknights.”

Cheeses from France also are being recommended today as a core component of influential nutritional pyramids such as the Mediterranean Diet (www.mediterraneanmark.org/MedDiet101.htm), which increasingly is considered the “Gold Standard” in healthy eating. Studied by scientists for more than half a century, the diet is based on the dietary traditions of the southern Mediterranean region at a time when the rates of chronic disease were among the lowest in the world and adult life expectancy was among the highest. The Mediterranean Diet includes eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, and nutrient-rich cheese in moderation each day.

Petite Chevre Pizzas

Chèvre, from the Loire valley, is creamy, lemony and a bit lactic ~ a good contrast with the puff pastry and the prosciutto. The creamy texture and the fresh finish elevates the flavors and texture of the puff pastry and the prosciutto combination very nicely.

Yield: 24 portions


Chèvre (French goat cheese) 1 cup
Puff pastry sheet, 9”x12” 2 ea.
Egg yolk 1 ea.
Water 1 tsp.
Fresh tomato sauce 1⁄2 cup
Parma prosciutto, sliced paper thin, 3 oz. cut into 1⁄2” strips
Toasted walnuts, crushed 1⁄2 cup
Arugula, stemmed 2 cups
Extra virgin olive oil 2 T.
Fleur de sel (type of sea salt) 1⁄2 tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground


1. Break up the goat cheese into small pieces and refrigerate for later use.
2. To make the pizza bases, roll out the puff pastry and cut into twelve 4-inch rings. Prick each pastry base with a fork, and then glaze with the egg yolk mixed with the water. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 minutes.
3. Remove the puff pastry bases from oven and cool for 1 hour. Cut each in half globally; cover each cut side with 1 tablespoon of the tomato sauce and top with the prosciutto slices, a sprinkling of toasted walnuts, and several pieces of the goat cheese. Bake again at 375°F for 7 minutes and remove from the oven.
4. Toss the baby Arugula with the olive oil and top each pizza with a few leaves. Sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de sel and fresh pepper, serve and ENJOY!

Macaroni and Fromage Rustique
Ossau Iraty is a sheep milk cheese style from the Basque region. It is has a nutty taste and finishes with a butterscotch flavor. Emmental is a cow milk cheese full of grass flavor with robust butterfat content. The mixing of the two gives a balance of flavors that is enhanced by the heat and the wheat flavor of the pasta.

Yield: 10 portions

Elbow macaroni 1 lb.
Bacon, diced fine 1 cup
Onion, small dice 2 cups
Garlic, minced 1 T.
Whole milk 4 cups
Fresh thyme 2 sprigs
Bay leaf 2 each
Garlic cloves, smashed 2 each
White roux, see note below 3 oz.
Salt and white pepper to taste
Ossau-Iraty, shredded 12 oz.
Emmental, grated 8 oz.
Italian parsley, minced fine 3 T.
Cayenne, Kosher salt, black pepper to taste
Herbed Bread Crumbs
Butter 1⁄2 cup
Toasted bread crumbs 1 cup
Rosemary, thyme, oregano, minced 2 T.
Mimolette, grated fine 3 T.


1. Cook elbow macaroni fully in boiling salted water. Drain well.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat renders out and the bacon is slightly crisp. Remove and discard 2 T. of bacon fat. Add the onions and cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the onions are soft and start to color. Add the garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. For the béchamel sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, scald the milk, remove from heat and add thyme, bay leaf, and smashed garlic; cover and steep 15 – 20 minutes.
4. Remove the thyme, bay and garlic, slowly whisk in the roux and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes; season and strain.
5. Take off heat and stir in cheeses until completely melted. Adjust the consistency with more milk if necessary. It should be a the consistency of pancake batter.
6. Adjust seasoning and taste with cayenne pepper, kosher salt and black pepper.
7. For the breadcrumbs, mix the toasted crumbs with the minced herbs and grated Mimolette and season with salt and pepper. Rub a large casserole dish with 2 T. butter and lightly coat with bread crumbs
8. Fold the bacon mixture, sauce and macaroni together. Pour it into prepared casserole pan and top with the remaining bread crumb mixture; dot with the remaining butter.
9. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 35 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
*Note: Roux (pronounced “roo”) is a thickening agent for soups and sauces. Made by cooking equal part of flour and oil until the raw flavor of the flour cooks out and the roux has achieved the desired color, a properly cooked roux imparts silky-smooth body and a nutty flavor while thickening soups and sauces.
Fromage Frittata

Ossau-Iraty, a sheep milk style cheese from the Basque, has a profile of caramelized onion with a hazelnut finish. It also exudes much of the Basque terroir which is rich in flowers and grass. The cheese lengthens the elegance of the Chanterelles.

Yield: 2 portions

Chanterelle mushrooms 1 lb.
Olive Oil 1 Tbsp.
Shallots 3 T.
Kosher salt 1⁄4 t.
Eggs 6
Ossau-Iraty, grated 1 cup
Salt 1⁄4 t.
Black pepper, freshly ground 1 pinch
Olive oil 2 Tbsp.


During the months of May and September, Chanterelle mushrooms can be found in local markets, and are great for Omelets and Frittatas. If you can’t find Chanterelle mushrooms, just use whatever mushrooms are in season. First clean the mushrooms with a small soft brush or paper towel. Brush off the excess pine needles and dirt, and tear the mushrooms into smaller pieces.

To cook the mushrooms, heat the olive oil and shallots in a small sauté pan over medium heat and season with the kosher salt. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft but still al dente (fully cooked, but not overly soft). Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a bowl, beat the eggs well and mix in the mushrooms, 3⁄4 cup of cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet or omelet pan over medium low heat and pour in the egg mixture. As soon as the bottom is solidified and lightly browned, sprinkle 1⁄4 cup of the Ossau-Iraty over the top and place the pan into the preheated oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top of the frittata has set, then remove and cool for 5 minutes before inverting and serving.

Apple Pie a la Versaille with Triple Crème Ice Cream
12-month- old Mimolette is a cow milk cheese from Normandy; the aging of this cantaloupe-form cheese brings a hazelnut finish with a touch of acidity. It also brings an elegant nuttiness to the pie crust which gives it a very appealing finish.

Yield: 12 portions


All-purpose flour 3 1⁄2 cup
Sugar 2 Tbsp.
Salt 1 tsp.
Unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2 “ pieces 1 cup
Egg yolk 2 each
Ice cold water 5-6 Tbsp.
Mimolette cheese, finely grated 1⁄4 cup
Pie Filling
Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced 8 cups
Slices shoud be about 1/4” thick
Fresh lemon juice 2 Tbsp.
Granulated sugar 1 cup
All purpose flour 1⁄4 cup
Cinnamon, ground 1⁄2 tsp.
Salt 1⁄2 tsp.
Nutmeg, ground 1⁄4 tsp.
Unsalted butter 3 Tbsp.
Egg yolk 1 each
Water 1 Tbsp.

1. For the crust: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine four to six times in one-second bursts, or until the butter is broken into very small pieces.
2. Place the egg yolk in a 1-cup glass measurer and add just enough of the water to equal 1/4 cup liquid. Using a fork, blend the water and yolk. Pour this mixture evenly over the flour-butter mixture, making sure it does not clump in one area. Sprinkle the grated cheese over this mixture evenly and pulse the machine again, in short bursts, until the pastry starts to form large clumps. Do not overprocess. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and then empty the crumbs into a large mixing bowl.
3. Using your hands, pack the dough and knead the dough 2 or 3 times. Place the dough in the center of the plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk about 3⁄4-inch thick. The edges will probably crack slightly; just pinch and mold them back into a smooth disk. Divide the dough into two, wrap the dough in the plastic, and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
4. Remove from refrigerator and proceed to roll out the dough. On a floured surface, roll out the bottom dough until it’s about 1/8-inch thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll over your 9” pie dish. Chill for 15 minutes.
5. For the filling: Preheat the oven to 425°. In a bowl, toss the sliced apples with lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; add to apples and toss. Pour into crust; dot with butter.
6. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie. Place over filling; seal and flute edges and cut slits in top. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over pastry.
7. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 40-45 minutes more or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.
8. Cool the pie on a cooling rack for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing so the juices can firm up.

Bleu Burger d’Ambert

This cow milk cheese from Auvergne is creamy and a bit spicy. The piquant bleuing gives balance and flavor to the beef.
Yield: 8 portions
Ingredients Amounts

Bread crumbs 1⁄2 cup
Whole milk 2 Tbsp.
Lean Ground Beef 2 lbs.
Egg, beaten 1
Black pepper 1⁄2 tsp.
Fresh thyme leaves, minced 1⁄2 tsp.
Garlic, minced fine 1 tsp.
Cayenne pepper 1/8 tsp.
Fourme d’ Ambert, crumbled 3⁄4 cup
Kosher salt 1⁄2 tsp.
Hamburger rolls 8 each
Butter, melted 3 Tbsp.
Romaine leaves or green leaf 4 large
Ripe tomato, sliced 1 large
Red onion, sliced 1 each

1. Combine the bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and allow the crumbs to moisten. Add the ground meat, egg, pepper, thyme, garlic, and cayenne and mix slightly to combine. Do not overmix the meat.
2. Divide meat mixture into 16 equal portions, shaping each into a 3 1⁄2 -inch patty. Spoon 1 tablespoon Fourme d’Ambert in the center of each of 8 patties; top each with 1 remaining patty, pressing down and pinching the edges to seal. Chill for 1 hour.
3. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and rub with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
4. Season the patties with kosher salt and place patties on the grill rack. Grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness; do not press down on the burger or you will lose all the juiciness. Remove from heat and rest for 3-4 minutes; keep warm.
5. Brush the cut sides of the rolls with the melted butter; place cut sides down on grill rack, and grill 30 seconds or until toasted. Serve patties on toasted rolls with desired toppings.

Fromage Lasagna with Roasted Vegetables
This washed rind cow milk cheese from Alsace has a creamy texture with a combination of sweet and pungent flavor which is needed to balance the pasta and the vegetables in this dish.

Yield: 12 portions

Ingredients Amounts
Yellow squash, sliced lengthwise 12 oz.
Red pepper, sliced lengthwise 12 oz.
Zucchini, sliced lengthwise 12 oz.
Eggplant, sliced lengthwise 8 oz.
Olive oil 4 Tbsp.
Balsamic vinegar 2 Tbsp.
Fresh rosemary, minced 1 Tbsp.
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Ricotta cheese 1 lb.
Tomme d’ Alsace, shredded and 8 oz.
Comté, grated 8 oz.
Eggs 2
Fresh Italian parsley, minced 1 Tbsp.
Béchamel (instructions below) 3 cups
Package lasagna noodles, cooked 12 oz.
and drained
Summer Tomato Sauce (instructions below) 1 qt.


1. Preheat oven to 400oF.
2. To prepare vegetables, combine the olive oil, balsamic, rosemary, and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl, add the sliced vegetables, and toss to coat. Lay out on layer on a heavy-duty sheet pan and roast until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
3. In large bowl, thoroughly combine ricotta, 6 ounces of Tomme d’ Alsace, Comté, eggs and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat oven to 375°.
5. To assemble, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 1/3 of the cooked noodles lengthwise over sauce. Spread with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Arrange 1/3 of the roasted vegetables. Spread 1/3 of the béchamel. Repeat with tomato sauce, noodles, ricotta, roasted vegetables, and béchamel. Top with the remaining grated Tomme d’ Alsace and cover with foil. To prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

*Note: Substitutions for Tomme d’ Alsace: Chimay or Saint-Nectaire


Yield: 1 quart
Ingredients Amounts

Milk 1 qt.
Pique onion *see note 1 ea.
White roux* see note 4 oz.
Salt and white pepper to taste

Scald milk, remove from heat, add Pique onion, cover and steep 15 – 20 minutes.
Remove onion, incorporate roux slowly by whisking a little in at a time and bring to a simmer.
Simmer 30 minutes, season, strain, cool, and refrigerate.
*Note: Onion pique is an onion studded with a bay leaf and a couple of cloves. Bay leaf can be inserted into onion by making a small slit

*Note: Roux (pronounced “roo”) is a thickening agent for soups and sauces. Made by cooking equal part of flour and oil until the raw flavor of the flour cooks out and the roux has achieved the desired color, a properly cooked roux imparts silky-smooth body and a nutty flavor while thickening soups and sauces.
Bing Cherry Compote & Brillat Savarin

Brillat Savarin

100% cow milk with cream added, has a rich creamy flavor with a touch of saltiness; it elevates the compote to a complete flavor and texture experience.

Yield: 1 quart
Ingredients Amounts
Dried bing cherries 2 cups
Dried cranberries 1⁄2 cup
Dry red wine 1 cup
Cinnamon stick 1
Bay leaf 1
Orange zest, 3 inch strip
Fresh Orange juice 1⁄2 cup
Granulated sugar 1 cup
Brillat Savarin 5 oz.

1. Combine the first five ingredients in a large non-reactive* saucepan.
2. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a slow simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the fruit is tender, but still chewy.
3. Remove from the heat and allow the fruit compote to cool slightly. Place in a container and refrigerate for 1 day to allow the flavors to mature. (Note: mixture will keep chilled for up to a month.)
4. To serve: Place 1 tablespoon of berry compote, and a small slice of Brillat Savarin cheese, onto a small white plate. Drizzle with some of the syrup from the fruit compote.
*Note: Non-reactive saucepans are stainless steel or ceramic, as opposed to copper or aluminum.

Fondue Francaise
Comte (from the Jura Mountains), Beaufort and Emmental (from Savoie) are all classic mountain cheeses. They are layered with nutty, fruity and sweet flavors and they have extraordinary melting capacity. Because they are mountain cheeses they all possess the layers of nuts, fruits, and sweetness, almost like a toffee finish, that give the fondue length and unforgettable layers of taste.

Yield: 12 portions
Ingredients Amounts
Garlic clove, split 1
Cantal cheese 1 cup
Comté cheese 1 cup
Emmental cheese 1 cup
Beaufort cheese 1⁄2 cup
Dry White wine 11⁄2 cups
Lemon juice 1 tsp.
Cornstarch 2 tsp.
Kirsch 3 Tbsp.
Ground nutmeg pinch
White bread cubes 1 cup per person

1. Heat a ceramic fondue pot over medium-low heat. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove; reserve garlic clove.
2. Either grate or plane both cheeses. Bring the wine, garlic clove, and lemon juice to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove the garlic clove with a fork. Add the cheese and stir until it is smooth and creamy.
3. Whisk together the cornstarch, Kirsch, and nutmeg and stir into the cheese sauce.
4. Continue to heat while stirring, until thick and smooth. Do not overheat or the mixture will separate.
5. Keep fondue warm over low heat, then put it over an alcohol lamp (Sterno) at the table. Let the fondue continue to bubble during the meal and stir it from time to time so that it stays creamy.
6. Spear the bread cubes with fondue forks and dip them into the cheese.
*Note: If the fondue is too thin, add more grated cheese; if it is too thick, thin it with wine. The wine, incidentally, is critical ~it should not be too aged and should contain abundant acids. Cider is also well-suited to use in a fondue.

Ham & Cantal Casserole
Cantal is a cow milk cheese from Auvergne whose rustic texture and flavor are reminiscent of the flowers and herbs from Auvergne, giving dimension to the ham and bread in this recipe.

Yield: 8 portions

Ingredients & Amounts
White bread, sliced 10 each
Unsalted butter 1⁄2 cup
Ham, cooked and cubed 1⁄4-inch 2 cups
Cantal cheese, grated 1 1⁄2 cup
Whole milk 2 cups
Kosher salt 1 tsp.
Cayenne pepper 1⁄4 tsp.
Eggs, slightly beaten 5

1. Butter bread and cut into 1⁄2-inch sticks. Layer bread into a 9” glass loaf pan, alternating with the cheese and ham.
2. Add seasonings to milk and mix together with eggs. Pour over bread and let stand in refrigerator overnight.
3. Bake at 350° until lightly browned and puffed, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. (A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.)
4. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before cutting and serving
For more information on The Cheeses of France, part of the healthy Mediterranean Diet, visit www.CheesesOfFrance.com. For more delicious recipes, please visit http://tinyurl.com/yj5pm7y.

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