Here’s another great starter to nibble on while waiting for those guests who have yet to arrive or the meat to be served. This deeply rich and flavorful spread is absolutely fantastic with thin slices of crusty bread; toasted or not. Blue cheese, nuts, and brandy. That’s it.
Now before I go further I feel that it is my duty to upset a few cognac or brandy aficionados. Here in Argentina, probably the most popular brandy or cognac is Reserva San Juan – CoÃ±ac V.S.O.P.
So France has rules about what can be officially named as cognac while all the rest is brandy. Has to be made this way or that. Can only come from here or there. Whatever, I don’t know the rules and therefore I’m not going to act like I do. All I know is that Reserva San Juan’s bottle description says that they claim to follow traditional French methods that are utilized in the Cognac region with special stills that are fabricated in France. Aged in oak barrels under the supervision of experts. Then some other print about how they guarantee the aging in imported oak barrels that are officially certified by someone or other. Oh yeah, they also add sugar syrup and caramel coloring but I’ve read that some top brands do the same for consistency. If any experts want to chip in feel free.
All I know is that this wonderfully smelling spirit is under $6 US dollars for a 750ml bottle. For the price it’s pretty damn good I must say. I’m no tasting expert so don’t take my word. I can’t tell you if there are notes of tobacco from grandpa’s old pipe that hasn’t been cleaned in 80 years. Just try it and judge for yourself if you get the chance.
Alright, this recipe is very easy to prepare but I’m only laying down some basic groundwork. Play around with the proportions. If you find it way too strong, add cream cheese little by little until the desired consistency is reached. Or if you are like me, add some extra coÃ±ac.
350 grams blue cheese (3/4 lb)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons Brandy or Cognac (more or less if you like)
Toss the nuts into a food processor and pulse them a few times until they are finely chopped. Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl then add the nuts and cognac. Mash well with a fork until a smooth paste is formed.
Note: Queso azul means blue cheese and that’s what most manufacturers in Argentina will label their products as containing. However, people and restaurants typically tend to refer to it as roquefort. (Pizza with roquefort, roquefort empanadas, pasta with roquefort sauce, etc) Roquefort is a type of blue cheese but like cognac, there are certain laws or rules that apply to what can be labeled as such.