It should go without saying, but: I do! I love fondue in any incarnation. Tonight, facing a refrigerator full of cheeses on their last legs, and some vegetables screaming to be eaten, I did what made the most sense: melted that delicious stuff down and dipped everything else into it.
For our dipping pleasure tonight, I brought out the regular players: pumpernickel and french breads, crisp Fuji apples, baby carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. I added some tender rotisserie chicken breasts to the mix because they are good, and also Chris panics sometimes about getting enough protien.
Before I get into the recipe, I feel the need to address a couple of things. We have been led to believe that fondue is 1) difficult, somehow; and 2) needs special equipment. I am here to tell you this is untrue! I made tonight's gooey mess in a double boiler, but the same effect could be reached with a small saucepan, a low flame, and a watchful eye. "But," you may be wondering, "don't you need a can of Sterno to keep it melty?" You don't! Good fondue has other liquids emulsified into it, and will keep liquid and warm for at least half an hour. If it starts thicken up on you, less than 5 minutes back on the stove will set you straight.
And so, I implore you, take those borderline moldy cheeses and almost-wilting vegetables and make yourself a light (well, except for all the cheese) and easy meal. This recipe is highly adaptable, just keep the proportions the same. Enjoy!
1 lb. assorted cheeses, sliced into sticks, or grated (I highly recommend using equal parts good Swiss chese, Jarlsburg, and Gruyere)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 garlic clove, cut in half
scant cup dry white wine
2 splashes beer
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp brandy (kirsch, a cherry brandy, is traditional)
.5 tsp dry mustard
fat pinch fresh grated nutmeg
In a small bowl, toss the cheese sticks with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of a small saucepan with the garlic clove, then discard. Over medium heat, add the wine, beer, and lemon juice and bring to a low simmer.
Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid--I find a whisk helpful during this step. Once all of the cheese is melted and well incorporated, stir in the brandy and nutmeg, then serve. YUM.