France—Cheese Fondue

 

French Appetizerfrance_cheese-fondue

Cheese Fondue
Fondue Savoyard
(Serves 6-8)

Just like bell-bottoms, Fondue is back! The fun of fondue is the communal eating from a central pot. Cheese (like Beef) Fondue, is also served as a main course.


1/2 lb. Emmental cheese (see sidebar)
1/2 lb. Comte, Beaufort, or Gruyere (see sidebar)
1 clove garlic (halved)
1 1/2 C dry white wine
1 T cornstarch
1 T. kirsch (cherry brandy)
pinch of fresh nutmeg (grated)
French bread (bite-sized cubes)

Prepare: grate or shred cheeses and set aside. Rub the inside of a heavy pot with garlic halves, then mince garlic and sprinkle in pot. Add wine and heat till not quite simmering. Gradually add cheeses, stirring constantly: back and forth is best, rather than a circular motion. Be sure not to let the cheese reach a boil. Combine cornstarch with kirsch and stir into cheese. Add nutmeg.

Serve: when ready to serve, carefully pour into a fondue pot placed over alcohol burner. Stir occasionally; do not let fondue come to a boil. Give each guest a long fondue fork to spear the bread cubes. Dip cubes into the cheese, twirling before lifting the fork out of the pot (this helps to cut the cheese strands). Serve with salad and the same white wine that went into fondue.

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Tips & Glossary

Bouquet Garni: (boo-kay gar-nee) bundle of herbs tied together with string or wrapped in cheese cloth square; usually parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Flavor is released during long cooking.Remove before serving.

Chervil: (sher-vil) related to parsley but has a delicate anise flavor. Long cooking kills flavor, so add at the last minute.

Cornichon (kor-nee-shon) teeny-tiny pickle, served with pates & smoked meats; found in specialty food stores.

Fines Herbes: (feen-airb) mix of finely chopped herbs: parsley, chives, tarragon, & chervil. Not as strong as a bouqet garni. Buy it at most grocery stores.

Fromage: (fra-mahj) Cheese! The French eat more than any nationality, 45 pounds per capita per year; and the country makes more cheeses than any other country, about 400.

The three great pedigreed French cheeses are:
• Brie (East of Paris)
• Camembert (Normandy)
• Roquefort (Southwest France, from sheep’s milk)

There are also wonderful lesser-known cheeses:
• Beaufort (Rhone Alps, hard, yellow Gruyere-type)
• Chevre (Loire Valley, soft, goat’s milk)
• Comte (Alps region, hard, yellow Gruyere-type)
• Emmental (Alps region, “Swiss” cheese with holes)
• Gruyere (hard, yellow cheese—originally French, now most is Swiss)
• Tomme (means “cheese”; soft, many varieties, all from skim milk)

Herbes de Provence (airb-duh-pro-vonce): mix of dried herbs, usually thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, & bay leaf Can be found at most grocery stores.

Mutarde: (moo-tard), mustard. Most famous:
• Dijon ( from the town in Burgundy)
• Meaux (from Meaux, east of Paris; whole-grained; made by Pommery).

Nicoise Olive: (nee-swaz- oh-leev) small, purplish-black olive with a mellow, nutty flavor; used primarily in Salade Nicoise. The Picholine variety is a green, medium-sized olive with a light, nutty flavor.

Roux: (roo) paste-like mix of melted butter and flour, into which liquid is gradually added. The basis of every classic French sauce.
Basic Roux: 1 part butter to 1 part flour. Melt butter and add flour, stirring vigorously, till it becomes a paste-like consistency. At this point, add slowly whatever liquid your recipe calls for

 

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