Fondue is FUN!
If you live in an urban area like we do, you might just scuttle about like a crab, avoiding eye contact with your neighbors, and that's okay. When making fondue, however, it’s best enjoyed en masse so if you don’t want to get friendly with Don and Betty next door, call up your dear friends, jolly comrades or loving relations, as the act of dipping tasty bites into warm, unctuous cheese together is a sensation akin to feeding your communal souls. Not a bad antidote to coping with the chilly weather.
Here's how to do it potluck style, which is not only a tasty treat for the masses, it's also a great budget-friendly meal for groups: offer to make a classic cheese fondue recipe yourself and then divvy up the dippers amongst your guests to bring as a contribution. The variety of dippers is up to you all, but the more diverse, the more fun it is.
We've made Emeril's super-easy Classic Cheese Fondue Recipe below, but do you think we ever have Kirsch on hand? No sir, you can omit that sucker and it will turn out just fine. Just omit the Kirsch and mix the cornstarch with a little bit of the already melted cheese to make a roux before adding it in, so you don’t end up with powdery clumps.
Classic Cheese Fondue
1 garlic clove, crushed
2/3 cup dry white wine
Juice of half a lemon
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Kirsch
Freshly ground pepper and grated nutmeg
Directions: Rub inside of flameproof earthenware fondue pot or 2-quart saucepan with garlic clove. Add wine and lemon juice and heat over low heat, just until gently bubbling. Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly until smoothly melted. Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch with Kirsch and seasonings until blended to a smooth paste, stir it into cheese and cook 3 minutes more. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Dippers: Cubed bread such as French, sourdough or rye, kielbasa slices, new potatoes, tart apples, sliced vegetables such as red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, celery (each need just a quick dip in boiling water).
24/Scoop: Don't have a fondue pot? Don't worry! Why not make it in a regular pot and spear with simple forks. If you've got a wire or clay trivet with any kind of opening, you can even jury rig a heating device with tea candles.