CLASSIC CHEESE FONDUE (for six)
“This traditional Swiss fondue… calls for an equal amount of Gruyere cheese, for its depth of flavor, and Emmenthaler for its supple texture; a shot of Kirsch for its cherry aroma and alcoholic oomph; and a little garlic, for its bite. It takes all of 15 minutes, and will emerge as magnificently creamy, smooth and velvety as custard, but with a funky, deep flavor that dazzlingly enriches anything you dunk in the pot: bread cubes, apple slices, clementine sections, nuggets of salami, pretzels, tofu. It is even marvelous spooned onto a romaine lettuce salad in place of dressing.” Melissa Clark
1 small garlic clove
1 cup dry white wine
¾ pound Gruyere cheese, grated
¾ pound Emmenthaler, raclette or Appenzeller cheese, grated
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 to 2 tablespoons kirsch (optional)
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (optional)
crusty bread cubes, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, carrot, celery or fennel sticks, cubed
apple, seedless grapes, clementine sections, cubed salami, soppressata or kielbasa,
roasted chestnuts and/or dried apricots, for serving
1.Fill the fondue pot with 2 cups warm water and place the pot on the stand. Fill the fuel burner with oil according to the manufacturer’s instructions and set it on the stand.
2. Rub cut side of garlic on inside of a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably cast iron, rubbing the bottom and halfway up the sides. Add wine and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss cheeses with cornstarch. Add a handful at a time to simmering wine, stirring until first handful melts before adding next. Reduce heat to medium and stir constantly until cheese is completely melted. Add kirsch, if using, and heat until bubbling, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, if desired.
4. Pour the cheese sauce into the porcelain insert and place the insert in the fondue pot. Set the splatter guard on top. Set the fondue pot on the table and light the fuel burner according the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure the heat source keeps the fondue warm, but not hot. Stir the mixture occasionally. Serve with crusty bread and other accompaniments.
Red wine garlic fondue: Substitute red wine for the white, preferably a light-bodied wine like a Loire Valley red. Mince garlic used to season pot and add it to the pot along with the wine. Omit kirsch and nutmeg.
Cheddar whiskey fondue: Substitute 1-1/2 pounds good extra sharp Cheddar cheese and Irish whiskey for the kirsch. Omit nutmeg.
Raclette fondue with cornichons: Omit kirsch and nutmeg. Substitute 1-1/2 pounds raclette cheese. Thinly slice garlic and bring to a simmer with wine. Just before serving, stir in 3 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons.
Chipotle fondue with bacon: Omit kirsch and nutmeg. Substitute 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese and ½ pound aged Monterey Jack (or use all mild). Just before serving, stir in 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons minced chipotle chili in adobo sauce and 4 slices crumbled cooked bacon.
Seedy gouda fondue: Substitute Gouda no older than 2 years old (older Gouda might separate). Stir in 1 teaspoon whole caraway or cumin seeds. Omit kirsch.
Goat cheese herb fondue: Substitute half and half for the wine. Mince garlic used to season pot and add it to pot along with half and half. Substitute fresh goat cheese. Omit kirsch and cornstarch. Stir in 1 tablespoon each chives, parsley and tarragon.
Dark beer and caramelized onion fondue: Cook 1 sliced onion in 1 tablespoon butter until dark brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Substitute dark beer for the wine. Stir in the caramelized onion.
from Melissa Clark, the New York Times