As we enter the season of decadence, I can’t help but crave Roquefort. It’s as luxurious as fur, and it pairs well with so many things associated with the winter season: ripe pears, dates, figs, honey, walnuts. After a big meal, this triple-crème sheep’s milk blue becomes the evening’s star, especially when served with a glass of nectar-like Sauternes.
Roquefort can also be used in cooking, to trick out tired recipes. When I ran across a recipe for Roquefort Meatloaf in a dog-eared copy of The Silver Palate Cookbook, I knew it would become part of my repertoire – please, what meatloaf doesn’t need sparkle?
Several producers are licensed to make Roquefort in France, a cheese that is carefully regulated – like champagne. Of these, one stands out: Carles Roquefort. It’s made by a man in his nineties, Jacques Carles, who still uses traditional methods. Following his ancestors, he bakes rye bread, lets it gather mold, and harvests this to inoculate his wheels before aging them in limestone caves.
Carles Roquefort is an example of a stunningly crafted blue – set your watch, and you’ll notice that the flavors fill your mouth for almost 60 seconds. You’ll taste sweet-salty fireworks, minerals, nuts, dates, figs, honey. Well, almost.
Ask your cheesemonger for a sample. Wheels vary; some are foxy and bright, while others are so spicy you’ll think there’s horseradish in the air.
For Roquefort Meatloaf, Carles Roquefort may be too spendy. Here’s what I suggest: serve a wedge of Roquefort on a Saturday night, then use the leftovers to make a morning-after meatloaf. Supplement with another brand of blue, preferably one that’s salty and filthy rich.
This recipe is not for delicate buttercups. Try serving Roquefort Meatloaf with whipped sweet potatoes and seared spinach.
Adapted from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook
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