When I was growing up, my parents made steak fondue every New Year’s Eve. It really was the perfect night: a relaxed dinner, followed by games and watching Dick Clark (at least, when my brother and I were able stay up that late). At any rate, we loved it much more than going out in the cold to a nice restaurant.
Thanks to the resurgence of fondue restaurants, I’ve been reminded of this simple dish and am enjoying fondue again. I even once threw a fondue party for my mom’s birthday. Let me tell you, when you do the preparation for cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, plus steak, shrimp, ravioli, and make several dipping sauces, you realize it’s worth every penny to go out to a restaurant for a multi-course fondue!
These days, I generally will only do cheese fondue at home, because I can make a meal out of it with plenty of vegetables and fruit. However, most of my friends and family don’t enjoy the traditional fondue of gruyere and emmenthaler, so I pretty much have to make this for myself. If you look at the recipe, you’ll see that it’s a LOT of food for one person, but never fear, I have plans for transforming the leftover cheese into a new meal.
This recipe was slightly different from all others I’ve seen and used previously. Instead of coating the cheese with cornstarch before melting, this recipe has you buttering the pot. I have to admit, whether intended or not, it made clean up so much easier; the cheese came right out of the pot, and that’s NEVER happened before, even with a nonstick fondue pot.
Adapted from The Country Cooking of France
1 unpeeled garlic clove, cut in half
1 tablespoon soft butter
1 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
½ pound Gruyere, shredded
½ pound Emmenthaler, shredded
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Kirsch
dash of freshly ground nutmeg
apple slices drizzled with lemon juice
cauliflower and broccoli flowerets
asparagus spears, raw or blanched
pear slices drizzled with lemon juice
Rub the inside of a fondue or enameled heavy duty saucepan with garlic. Spread butter all around inside of pot and add wine; bring to a boil over very low heat. Add the cheese in handfuls, stirring constantly in a figure-8 pattern with a wooden spoon, until the cheese is completely melted. Add pepper, nutmeg, and Kirsh; season with salt if necessary.
Spear bread, fruit, and vegetables and dip into the cheese.