Long before nut-covered cheese balls hit the dairy case, French home cooks were making a delicious spread called fromage fort. The basic concept--blending leftover cheese with a little wine and seasonings--is both thrifty and open to plenty of improv (we like to use our favorite Western cheeses). Here's the method and a combination we especially like.
Makes 1 1/4 cups (serving size: 2 tbsp.)
1. In a food processor, whirl cheese until finely chopped. Add 3 tbsp. wine and whirl until very smooth. Scrape into a bowl and stir in thyme, dates, and pistachios. Season generously with pepper. If needed, stir in a bit more wine until spreadable (mixture thickens as it stands).
2. Serve cheese spread with crackers, toasted baguette slices, or raw vegetables.
Make ahead: Keeps, chilled, up to 1 week.