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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Roquefort Blue Cheese

Always thought to be a good reason for extended life for the French by helping to guard against cardiovascular disease. Working through "Acidification" the cheese helps to prevent common inflammation such as in joints affected by arthritis or special plaque on an artery wall.

The origins can be dated back as far as 79AD, (don't eat it from then) when Pliny The Elder discovered it's flavorful creamy texture with blue and green mold lines within.  Made exclusively in the French town of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon after King Charles VI granted the rights to them in 1411 the cheese is a combination of the red Lacaune ewes milk and the mold Penicillium roqueforti it is aged a minimum of 4 months within the Combalou caves of the region giving the cheese it's special flavor and texture. Roquefort falls under the 'protected designation of origin' (PDO) provided by the European Union Law.

The recipes that follow may be made with any of my top five blue cheeses(try them all)  but they are formulated for the "King of Cheeses" Roquetfort.

Chef K's Top Five Blue Cheeses:
1) Roquefort (France)
2) Danablu (Danish Blue, Denmark)
3) Gorgonzola  (Italy)
4) May Tag Blue (America)
5) Silton (England)


4 6 Oz veal medallions, cut from tenderloin, 2 inches thick, patted dry
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups dry white wine
2 cups rich beef stock
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, whipped
3 oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 cup fresh Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh crushed rosemary
6 ounces Savoy cabbage, shredded, blanched, drained
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

 Season veal with salt and freshly ground pepper. Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Cook veal until browned and just tender, turning over one time, about 5 minutes per side. Remove with slotted spatula; keep warm.

Degrease the skillet. Add the wine and stock. Increase heat to high and boil until reduced by 2/3, scraping up any browned bits, about 15 minutes. Add half of the whipped cream and Roquefort cheese and boil until reduced by half. Remove from heat; keep warm.

Preheat broiler. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Sauté the shallot until soft, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until most of liquid evaporates, about 9 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Transfer veal to small baking dish. Top with tomato mixture. Mix just enough of remaining whipped cream into Roquefort sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce holds its shape. Spread some of the Roquefort sauce over the tomato mixture. Broil 6 to 8 inches from heat source until golden, watching carefully.
Spread warm cabbage on platter. Top with veal. Season remaining Roquefort sauce with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Spoon around veal and serve immediately. Serves 4.


 4 (10-ounce) veal chops
 4 tbsp vegetable oil
 2 tbsp kosher salt
 2 tbsp coarsely cracked black peppercorns
 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, optional
 1 tsp Herbs de Provence (follows)

 Roquefort Chive Sauce
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 ounces French Roquefort cheese, crumbled (4 ounces with rind)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the butter and herbs to make a compound butter, divide in four and set aside. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Shaping into a log and wrapping with plastic wrap makes cutting into pieces easy when chilled.

Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.

Pat the chops dry with a paper towel and brush them lightly with vegetable oil. Combine the salt and cracked pepper on a plate and roll the steaks in the mixture, pressing lightly to evenly coat all sides.

When the skillet is ready, add the chops and sear them evenly on all sides for about 2 minutes per side, for a total of 10 minutes. Top each chop with a tablespoon of butter, if using, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the chops until they reach 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer. (To test the chops, insert the thermometer sideways to be sure you're actually testing the middle of the chops.) Remove the chops to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Serve hot with Roquefort Chive Sauce on the side.

Roquefort Chive Sauce

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has become thick and creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese, salt, pepper and chives and whisk rapidly until the cheese melts.

Herbs de Provence

3 Tablespoons dried marjoram
3 Tablespoons dried thyme
3 Tablespoons dried savory
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Combine marjoram, thyme, savory, basil, rosemary, sage, and fennel. Mix well and spoon into a tightly-lidded jar. Store in a cool, dark place up to 4 months.Use herbs de Provence to season chicken, vegetables, or meat.

Yield: 3/4 cup


Serve atop and alongside Grilled Steak, Veal, Grilled Chicken, Wild Game Steaks

1 pound imported French Roquefort, softened (2 cups)
2 sticks (1 cup) Unsalted Butter, softened
3 cups dry White Wine or White Vermouth
4-6 teaspoons Freeze-Dried Green Peppercorns
2 cups Heavy Cream
6 teaspoons fresh Parsley Leaves, minced fine

In a bowl, cream the cheese and butter until smooth.
In a saucepan, boil the wine with the peppercorns until it is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, add the cream, and boil again until it is reduced by half.

Reduce the heat to moderately low, whisk in the cheese mixture, a little at a time, and then whisk in the parsley.

Remove the pan from the heat and keep the sauce warm.

Check for seasoning and add freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Do not add any salt, since Roquefort is 
quite salty on its own.


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