This silk weaver’s brain recipe, also known as cervelle de canut, is an herbed cheese and vinegar spread. It is named for the silk workers of Lyon in the mid-18oo’s; some say it is a tribute, others, an insult. No matter what the true origin of the offbeat name, it is a fantastic appetizer.
Prep Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
- 1 8-ounce carton fromage blanc or chèvre (found in specialty stores)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light olive oil
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried chives (1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped)
- 1 teaspoon dried chervil (1 tablespoon fresh chervil, chopped)
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 fresh or day-old baguette, sliced and toasted into croûtes
Drain the fromage blanc and place it, along with the white wine vinegar, crème fraiche, and olive oil into the work bowl of a food processor. Process the cheese until it is smooth and completely blended into a medium consistency.
Add the shallots, chives, chervil, salt, and pepper to the work bowl and pulse the mixture just until the herbs are incorporated into the cheese. Refrigerate the cheese for 2 to 3 hours before serving on the croûtes.
This cervelle de canut recipe makes approximately 8 to 10 servings.