Four Fork Fondue

September 29, 2003

Four Fork Fondue

Fondue has been making a comeback. Luckily. It is a wonderful thing to have for dinner with some good friends. It was popular years ago, and, like many things, it is now “in” again. You can find fondue pots and forks and recipe books just about anywhere now. When I got married, that wasn’t the case.

A few months after Adam and I were engaged, I went to Europe for a few weeks. For part of my trip, I stayed with our family friends just outside of Zurich, Switzerland. The youngest daughter, Yvonne, is a few years younger than I am. Yvonne and I were good friends from a few years before, when she had lived with my parents in Farmington. She was teaching at Renbrook and I was living at home then too. We had so much fun together.

While I was there, Yvonne and her mom told me that they would like to give me a wedding present, and that it would be so much easier if I picked out something while I was there. Much to my delight, she sent Yvi and I off to select something suitable. I wanted to choose something very Swiss. We went to the Heimatwerk store in Zurich and started browsing. We found a beautiful fondue pot, which we decided was the perfect thing. It is something that practically everyone in Switzerland has in their kitchens. They are not inexpensive and I was thrilled to be so honored as to be given one so special. It is a beautiful blue ceramic one. The lid has a bulb of garlic on top as a handle.

Later when Adam and I chose the pottery we were having made for us to have as our everyday dishes, we found that it fit well with the colors. We did not use the pot for a few years. To use it you need to have it on a stand and then light the sterno under it. We didn’t have a stand, and despite hunting for one to buy, we could not find one anywhere. Apparently they only sell the components separately in Europe, not in the U.S. So the next year we received another gift, courtesy of the same family. It was a cool stand that would enable us to really use the pot.

I was off to find recipes. Over the years, we have tried quite a few different recipes. Some have different cheeses, different liquids, different things to dip. There have been some that are quite good. We always have good friends for dinner to enjoy it with us. It is a fun social dinner. Despite the recent resurgence in popularity, we don’t know anyone else who makes it. Our guests seem to look forward to enjoying it with us. Nowadays, we have been so taken with one particular recipe that it is usually the one we choose to make. This particular recipe calls for swirling a scoop of pesto into a good choice of cheeses at serving time. We have it with a green salad with a mustard dressing on the side. Serve a good apple crisp for dessert and it’s a huge success.

If you have a fondue pot that is ceramic (metal ones are just for meat fondues- really), dig it out and indulge some friends in enjoying this with you. Chocolate fondue is great to indulge in too. Try it with shortbread cookies or pound cake cubes dipped in, along with fresh fruit. If you don’t yet have a pot, purchase one, and try it out.

Note- To purchase a fondue set try… Lugano ($79.95), Emile Henry- ($87.95) or a very swiss one ($140), these three are similar to mine…
or …(chantal ($19.99), Le Creuset ($84.99), or Ruffoni ($129.00 -both meat and cheese)
Remember to get some fresh Sterno or other fondue fuel, and have plenty of day-old crusty bread. I use a large loaf of italian bread and cut it so that each bite sized piece has some crust on it. Cut it ahead and let it sit out for a few hours so that that it will dry a little to work better.

Pesto Fondue

This stuff is truly incredible. If you like fondue and you like pesto, it is a definite must. The recipe is from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook.

1 clove garlic, halved
1 cup Italian dry white wine
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese (at least 3/4 lb)
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss or Emmentaler cheese (at least 3/4 lb)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 -3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pesto (I use Buitoni- find it in the refrigerated section with the fresh pastas)

1.Put hot water into fondue pot to begin warming it to prepare it for the cheese.
2. In heavy pot on stove, pour in the wine and heat over medium low until hot.
3. Toss the cheeses with the flour to coat. Add the cheese, a handful at a time, to the wine, stirring constantly and waiting until each addition melts before adding the next. Check the consistency and add more cheese or more wine if needed.
4. Pour hot water out of waiting fondue pot. Rub fondue pot with the garlic.
5. Just before serving, swirl in the pesto over the top of the fondue. Serve with cubes of french bread, chunks of sweet italian sausage, and cherry tomatoes.
6 -8 portions

Somerset Fondue

This is a great recipe for fondue that we have found when we were first experimenting with fondues. The basic Swiss fondue is always good, but this one, found in The Book of Fondues is a close rival.

1 small onion, halved
1 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 cups(12 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons apple juice
dash white pepper

1.Put hot water into fondue pot to begin warming it to prepare it for the cheese.
2. In heavy pot on stove,
2. In a heavy pot, pour in cider and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until bubbly.
3. Turn heat to low and gradually stir in cheese. Continue to heat until cheese melts.
4. In a small bowl blend mustard and cornstarch with apple juice. Blend into cheese and continue to cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy. Season with white pepper.
5. Empty waiting fondue pot of water. Rub inside of pot with cut side of onion. Transfer mixture to the warmed fondue pot.
6. Serve with good crusty bread, cut into cubes and wedges of apple.
Makes about 4 servings.
note: if there is leftover bread, use it for bread pudding!

Best Dressed Salad

A secret recipe from my friend’s mom- Mrs. Scoville. It is so easy and soooo tasty. Experiment with different mustards. A favorite of mine is the Sesame Ginger Mustard by Stonewall Kitchen, but first make this with a good Dijon.

dijon mustard
olive oil

1. Put dijon in a mixing bowl.
2. Add olive oil slowly to create an emulsion.
3. Serve with romaine and chunks of avocado.

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