Friday, February 13, 2009

Three-Cheese Fondue with Champagne

When I think of romance, I think of melted cheese. Don't you?

Regardless if you agree or disagree there is something romantic about fondue. This Valentine's Day, you may want to consider staying home or making a reservation at a fondue restaurant. Spots like Geja's Cafe in Chicago or even the Melting Pot chain nationwide cater specifically to couples and the 'romantic' experience. Invest 35 dollars and you can make the meal at home. What's not to like about gooey cheese over a sliced baguette and Granny Smith apples. Or how about fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate? Sign me up.

A word of the wise: if you go oil fondue to cook proteins (which does taste great) beware of the lingering smell. It's just like frying in your own kitchen and the smell is there to stay. My rule of thumb is to order fried foods when you go out and avoid making them at home. However, if you have a backyard, fry away.

Three-Cheese Fondue with Champagne
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups dry (brut) Champagne
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cups coarsely grated Gruy√®re cheese (about 7 ounces)
  • 1 1/3 cups coarsely grated Emmenthal cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup diced rindless Brie or Camembert cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1 French-bread baguette, crust left on, bread cut into 1-inch cubes

Stir cornstarch and lemon juice in small bowl until cornstarch dissolves; set aside. Combine Champagne and shallot in fondue pot or heavy medium saucepan; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Add all cheeses and stir to combine. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Return fondue pot to medium heat and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth and fondue thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Season fondue with nutmeg and white pepper. Place over candle or canned heat burner to keep warm. Serve with bread cubes.



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