Adapted from Simple Recipes
Wife Jan decided she wanted cheese fondue for Sunday dinner. At the last minute, daughter Miriam bowed out, so I made bread pudding with my bread cubes. I finally made the fondue the next weekend’s dinner.
During the ‘70’s, fondue was a very popular dish. Nearly everyone had a fondue pot and the long handled forks needed to skewer the bits to dip into the cheese sauce. In those days, most people would only dip pieces of bread—a fancy French melted cheese sandwich.
Scanning my blog, I find that it has been at least four years since I have made fondue—or I would have posted about it. One reason for this is that cheese fondue is not exactly a health food. To make it more healthy, modern versions of fondue use raw or steamed vegetables to dip into the cheese.
I lost my fondue pot years ago. These were small pots with a stand that held a candle—or other heat source—to keep the cheese sauce warm and fluid. Today, I jury-rigged an electric table pot that I added water to and then I placed a regular pot with the cheese sauce in the water. This worked very well, if a bit unsightly.
Karl’s Cheese Fondue
1 French baguette
1 lb. marble potatoes
1 large broccoli crown
1 small head cauliflower
1 large zucchini
A fondue pot or other method of keeping a pot warm
Note: You may prepare your dipping items several hours before you are ready to make your fondue. However, daughter Miriam complained about them being cold. Reheat them by microwaving them for one minutes, just before serving.
1. Cut the French baguette into 1 inch cubes and spread them in a single layer on a lipped baking sheet.
2. Toast the bread cubes, in a 400º F oven, for 5-10 minutes until lightly toasted.
3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the potatoes.
4. Simmer the potatoes for 10 minutes, cover, and remove it from the heat.
5. Let the pot stand for another 10-20 minutes.
Tip: The residual heat from the pot of water will finish cooking the potatoes.
Note: Drain the potatoes and set them aside.
6. Cut the broccoli crown into pieces.
Tip: I trim off the base of the crown and then I cut off each “branch” of broccoli free.
Note: Look at the base of the crown and pick a branch. Starting at where the branch joins stalk cut down on both sides toward the base. pull the branch free—you will end up with a bit that has both some of the floret and a handle of the stalk. Continue until the crown cut into small pieces—if you have some pieces that are too large cut them in half vertically.
7. Steam the broccoli for 3 minutes, and then shock the pieces to prevent them from over cooking.
Tip: You want your broccoli just barely cooked—nothing is worst than trying to dip a floppy bit of vegetable into the cheese sauce.
8. Cut and steam the cauliflower in the same way that you treated the broccoli.
Tip: Some people do not like cooked cauliflower so you may leave some—or all—of this vegetable raw.
9. Cut the zucchini into 1½ inch cylinders and then cut—vertically—each piece into bars by slicing them into quarters or eights.
10. Set the prepared vegetables aside.
11. Grate the cheeses into shreds and place them in a mixing bowl.
12. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the cheese and toss to coat the shreds with the flour.
Tip: This both keeps the cheese from clumping back together and will act as a thickener when you make your sauce.
13. Just before serving, place the white wine, lemon juice, Elderflower liqueur, mustard, and nutmeg into a medium pot (2 quart).
Note: The primary flavors of this dish is the cheese and wine. Use a good wine that you would drink on its own. We found the Kono Sauvignon Blanc was a very good choice.
14. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the cheeses a bit at a time, whisking constantly, until all of the cheese is added and melted into the sauce.
Tip: You may do this in the stove top and then move it to a heated surface on the table.
Note: If you do not have an electronic pot, you may use an electric hot plate. If you do not have a stable pot stand, I strongly recommend against using a candle or other flame source—like Sterno.
15. Arrange your dipping vegetables and bread around the pot.
Tip: If you wish you may microwave the cooked vegetables briefly to warm them.
Note: Be careful not to overcook the vegetables.
16. Diners select bits to dip into the cheese sauce.
Tip: While there are plenty of vegetables in this recipe, I also served a green side salad.