Cervelle de Canut (Silk Weavers Brain)
Before you all leave this page in total disgust at the prospect of being made to eat a silk weavers cerebral cortex, let me tell you that ‘cervelle de canut’, is a nonthreatening cheese and herb spread named for the famed silk workers of Lyon in the mid-18oo’s;
Pascal, the head chef at Terroir, insisted that ‘cervelle de canut’ was a tribute to the talented ‘canut’ of Lyon who diligently packed this cheesy spread on their way to the silk factories. While others tell me its name was a cruel joke amongst the bourgeois Lyonnaise, who assumed the cheesy dip shared a consistency with the gray matter of their silk-working class.
Whichever story is to be believed this creamy dip is delicious and a happy change from the usual suspects we are often left to dip our crudités in. Served with some soldiers of granary bread or perhaps a bundle of plump radishes it is a totally French treat and a perfect way to start any meal.
- 250g fromage blanc
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 heaped tablespoons of crème fraiche
- 1 1/2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 1 small shallots, very finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon fresh chervil, chopped
- A good pinch of ground black pepper
- A good pinch of sea salt
- Drain the fromage blanc and place it, along with the white wine vinegar, crème fraiche, and walnut oil into a deep mixing bowl or blender.
- Process the cheese until it is smooth and completely blended into a medium consistency.
- Add the shallots, chives, chervil, tarragon, salt and pepper to the mixture and blend or stir until all the ingredients are incorporated into the cheese.
- Refrigerate the cheese for 2 to 3 hours before serving and serve garnished with a pinch of fresh chives and a drizzle of walnut oil.