Man, I feel like a shepherd tonight. No, I’m not channelling some camp Country ‘n’ Western hit. It’s just that I now know how the shepherd boy who discovered Roquefort cheese felt.
The cold February nights see me craving comfort food, and this delicious blue cheese is the perfect ingredient for a dish of gratin de légumes au Roquefort, or vegetable gratin.
I made some to go with roast pork last Sunday. Yum!
It was the first time I had used Roquefort in a cheese sauce – it’s quite a discovery. Not exactly on a par with that of the shepherd boy some 2,000 years ago, however.
Legend has it that he left his cheese sandwich in the caves of the Combalou mountain while he wooed a young shepherdess. When he remembered the sandwiches a few days later – days, wow, that must have been some date! – he went back to discover them developing a blue-ish mould.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I did a bit of research about Roquefort and found that this ewe’s milk cheese develops its famous blue mould as it matures in the natural caves of the mountain. They are about 300m wide and go down five levels.
“This ewe’s milk cheese develops its famous blue mould as it matures in the natural caves of the mountain”
The cheese was recognised officially in 1411 when Charles VI signed papers allowing the people of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, in Aveyron, to make it. In 1926, it became the first cheese to be granted appellation d’origine contrôlée status.
To use it with cauliflower and broccoli, I made a cheese sauce using some Comté I had left over. Then I crumbled the Roquefort over it as the final touch, so that it melted but didn’t turn the sauce grey. Then I popped it in the oven.
Life is just a bowl of cherries, as the old song goes – though a bowl of vegetables in a Roquefort sauce is infinitely preferable right now, I would say.