Fromage blanc aux herbes

fromage herbes1

Fromage blanc with fresh herbs

This recipe blends the smooth, creamy cheese known in French as  fromage blanc with fresh herbs to create a light, savory dish. It is served most frequently as a starter, but also makes a fine dip for veggies at cocktail hour, or a snack whenever.

In France, fromage blanc (literally ‘white cheese’) is available with different levels of fat content — 0%, 20% or 40%. The zero percent variety tends to be sharp and lack flavor, so I normally choose the 20 percent variety, which is quite tasty but still light.

What to do if you cannot find fromage blanc? The best substitute would be Greek yogurt, which has the same consistency. Other possibilities include quark, the German version of fresh cheese, or tvorog, the Russian variety. Both would need to be very well beaten to achieve the necessary smoothness. Do not substitute cottage cheese — its curds make it entirely different.

For the herbs, use dill, cilantro, basil, parsley, mint or a combination.

1 pound (500 g) fromage blanc or Greek yogurt
4 tbsp. freshly snipped herbs (see above)
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Transfer the fromage blanc to a bowl and beat with a spoon or wire whip until it is completely smooth.

Snip in the herbs, season with salt and grind in some black pepper. Serves 2-3.

For variation, add 1/2 tsp. ground cumin or 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seeds or 1/2 tsp. dill seeds or a minced garlic clove.

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