Fondue for a Party

There are few things as unabashedly decadent as fondue. in this case, a blend of three fantastic cheeses enjoyed not just with two kinds of bread, but also apples and a pile of veggies. Traditional it isn’t, but I’ll take variety of flavor and pure enjoyment over tradition any day.

Okay, so it’s pasty and pale. Don’t let that fool you; this stuff has a bite! I think adding the Clisson helped that a little,  honestly. Traditionally one uses only Gruyere and Emmenthaler. Pah to that!

Swiss Fondue (serves 4 with dessert, or 2 greedy folks)

For the fondue:

3/4 cup white wine

1 1/2 T lemon juice (about half a lemon)

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 T flour (I needed about 4 T in the end. See directions.)

1/4 cup each Gruyere, Emmenthaler, and Clisson cheeses (or experiment!)

white pepper and/or nutmeg, to taste

For dipping:

Bread. We used a good baguette and some pumpernickel rye. Try sourdough, seeded rye, ciabatta, heck, pretty much anything but cornbread (It’s too crumbly to pick up the cheese, sadly. Cornbread with cheddar fondue would be so sweet and sharp and. . .sigh.) Cut into about 1 inch cubes.

Veggies. We used carrots, cauliflower, brocolli, and cooked potato. Asparagus, radishes, celery (or better yet celeriac) would go nicely as well, as I suspect would a variety of squashes.

Fruit. I know, it sounds strange, but apples love cheese. Dried apricots aren’t too shabby either. Pears, grapes, and olives all have enough firmness of texture and acidity to pull this off. Play around with it!

Directions

Grate the cheeses into a bowl. Toss with flour to coat.

Heat the wine in a double boiler over medium heat. Fondue sets tend to come with those awful little lamps. I got a $10 burner at Target and plugged it in under the dining table. You get way more temperature control, plus no weird smells from the burning fuel. Add the garlic and slowly stir in the cheese. (I got impatient and dumped it all in at once. Which instantly cooled the wine, and we had to wait about ten minutes for the glop to melt. Which only stopped the civilized folks at the table [the men] from eating it before it was ready.)  If it’s still too thin when completely melted, add a tad more flour. Grate in a bit of white pepper or nutmeg and serve with all the good stuff. if your bread is too soft (or you just want a bit of crunch), put all the cubes on a baking sheet and toast briefly under the broiler. Devour everything like starving hyenas.

I did make an appetizer and dessert for the party as well, but in the interest of keeping one recipe per post, I’ll surprise you with those later. The only thing connecting all three is apples. Gotta love apples.

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