My husband was in the mood for fondu tonight, so I decided to whip some up for a nice dinner outside, under the stars. Fondu is the easiest thing in the world to make, and quick, too.
I began by whipping up a simple baguette. I prefer the heartier flavor of a whole grain bread with my fondu, but some people prefer a more delicate bread. John would probably eat light bread, if I would let him, but I won’t. 😉
While it baked, I began the fondu.
I use a very simple recipe that begins with a cup of white wine. I always use an inexpensive, yet tasty, Italian pinot grigio, because the flavors are less delicate than the pinot from the Napa or Willamette Valleys or those from France. (We reserve those wines for drinking.) The Italian pinot grapes are much more pronounced, crisper and better (in my opinion) for cooking with cheese. This varietal is a nice, pale, straw color and has a crisp flavor with hints of melons, peaches, limes and lemons. It is light and dry….so you could also drink it with this fondu and it would be nice…but I prefer to use it for cooking.
So….to make this cheezy concoction, simply pour one cup of the white wine of your choice into a pan and bring it to a boil.
While the wine is heating, make a roux from butter and flour in another pan. When it is done, set it aside.
This recipe uses both swiss and gruyere cheeses, 7 ounces each. Do not skimp on the cheese, because this is the key ingredient….so buy the finest cheese that you can afford. Shops that specialize in cheese are highly recommended for the best selections.
Cube the cheese and add it to the hot wine .
Stir continually over medium/low heat until it melts, but take care not to overcook.
Just before the cheese has finished melting, add a little nutmeg. Do not use nutmeg from a can. Grate a nutmeg seed with a grater. The flavor difference is wonderful, and it goes all through the cheese. Fresh is always best!
Next, while keeping the mixture on low heat, slowly integrate the roux into the melted cheese mixture. Continue to stir until it gets nice and thick. The texture should be smooth.
Once the fondu has thickened, transfer it to the fondu pan and serve with a variety of breads, fruits and veggies.
For this meal, I tossed together a spinach salad with micro greens, candid pecans, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries and blueberries, and a fresh, homemade raspberry vinegarette dressing. It’s funny, because I went to four different stores to get these ingredients when, in fact, Trader Joes sells a similar salad all in one bag. Thing is, the one from Trader Joe’s is not organic, so I passed on it.
We sat out on our little deck, under the stars, and listened to Winton Marsalis, talked softly, had a few laughs, a few soft kisses, sipped some very nice wine,…..and felt lucky to be alive. And thankful.
This whole fondu thing is VERY fattening, so we don’t want to do it very often, but for tonight, it was the right thing.
A simple thing like a meal can mean so much. Life is sweet.