Since September, I have occasionally thought to myself: “One year ago, you were living in France.” Yes, yes, I know. Stop living in the past. But you see, sometimes it’s fun to look back and say, What was I doing x amount of time ago? Last semester, there would be a moment or two, when I would dolefully stare at the readings that I had yet to start, the papers that still needed to be finished, and I would think to myself, one year ago you were meandering the streets of a quaint French town, sampling every morsel of cheese in sight. Or, one year ago the French bakeries were brimming with galette des rois. Or even, one year ago you were on a train heading to Switzerland for the weekend. And so on, so forth.
Instead of continuing this sentimentality, I decided to recreate one of my favorite French meals from last winter. Cheese fondue. Yup. Cheese. And lots of it. In the region of Franche-Comté, there was a delicious cheese called mont d’or (it literally translates to golden mountain top. And in fact, mont d’or is actually a real mountain top). It’s a small wheel of cheese, with a creamy consistency, and a bold taste to match it’s somewhat pungent aroma. Whenever we had mont d’or for dinner, we would carve a little well in the cheese, fill it with vin jaune (yellow wine, a specialty of the Jura), a garlic clove, and place the entire wheel in the oven for about 30 minutes, until it was deliciously gooey. We would serve the cheese with the well-known saucisse de morteau, a sausage from the region.
Well, mont d’or isn’t available in the United States, so I recreated this dinner using a small wheel of brie. Since I love adding veggies to everything, and so I wouldn’t feel too bad about eating just cheese, potatoes, and bread, I also plated sliced tomatoes, sautéed spinach, and roasted cauliflower. One of the best things about this meal is that it’s fun. You can serve the cheese with your favorite breads, veggies, crackers, sausages…or anything else that you can think of. Fondue. Brie. Wine. It’s a fantastically indulgent meal.
1 wheel of brie
1 bottle white wine (1/4 for the cheese, the rest for drinking!)
1 clove garlic
1 bunch cauliflower, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, sautéed
10-15 mini potatoes, or 4-5 medium, sliced
1 tsp dried herbs (I used basil and oregano)
There are a number of ways to cook the cheese. In the end, wrap it in foil and cook for about 30 minutes.
1) You can make a small well in the cheese with spoon. Place the garlic clove in the well, and pour about 1/4 cup of wine in the well. OR 2) Slice the clove of garlic into little slivers. Make slits into the brie, and place the garlic slivers in the slits. Pour about 1/4 cup of white wine over the cheese.
Thinly slice the potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Bake until crisp.
Chop the cauliflower into bite-size bunches. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 35-40 minutes.
Plate all of the veggies, bread, potatoes, and other delicious fixings. Spoon the melted cheese on top or simply dip everything into the cheese. C’est vraiment délicieux! Bon appétit.