Tidewater Kitchen - October 2006

Fabulous Fondues

by

Pameal Meredith Doyle

     A fondue is a special dish that has had a resurgence in popularity in the last few years. Basically, fondue began as a cheese dish, cooked in wine and served with bread. As time went on, fondue took on many different forms.
      The Swiss were the ones that originated the idea of the cheese fondue and we expanded on it to broth fondues and meat. Although the origins of the word fondue are still debated, it is thought that it came from the French word “fonder,” or to melt. That origin can be traced as far back as 1768. Some chefs claim that its origins mean “to dip.”
      Some of us think of fondue as a true gourmet style of eating. But fondue is really a simple meal that uses the dipping of leftover bread in cheese. In more modern times the idea of dipping vegetables, or fruit in these cheese fondues has really taken off.
      I have a fondue tradition in our family. We always have fondue when we are visiting my parents in North Carolina. We have several makeshift fondue pots. We always have a simple Swiss cheese fondue and a fondue pot of oil going for meat fondues. The fondue always has several sauces served with it. One day we started to fry the bread and vegetables in the oil and it has remained a favorite ever since.
      We usually pair a light mixed green salad with the fondue and have plenty of delicious wine to go with it. Fondues are fantastic icebreakers at a party. They force us to linger around the dinner table while waiting for our food to cook. The process should be simple. Fill plates with large pieces of food, cubed bread, and interesting sauces. Once that is done, then slow down, take your time and enjoy the company.

Important Ingredients for Fondue
Cheese: Pick your cheese carefully. Look for imported cheese that is well matured. Cheese that is diced will melt more smoothly. Grated cheese tends to form lumps.
Wine: Choose a wine that will pair well with the fondue that you are selecting. While there are many liquors and wines suggested in the recipes, use a good one that you would drink. Do not skimp on the quality. Make sure that the wine has a high enough acidity to stand up to the cheese. If you need to have more acidity, add lemon juice to the mixture.

Cooking Hints for Fondue
For Cheese fondue - Remember to keep cheese at very low heat to keep it from becoming stringy.
      Always keep the cheese hot, despite the low heat, to keep it from becoming tough. Heat the cheese and then transfer it immediately to a warming burner to keep it from cooling.
      When you add the liquid to the cheese, stir well and constantly to keep the cheese smooth. If the cheese doesn’t thicken at once, keep stirring; it will thicken as it gets hot.
      If the cheese is too heavy, add baking soda. If the cheese fondue separates, put it back on the stove and whisk vigorously. If it doesn’t come together, add ½ t. cornstarch. If the fondue becomes too thick, you can add more warm liquid. Never add cold liquid to the fondue.
      If serving a meat fondue, heat the oil at the stove and then move it to the table warmer. If it cools, warm it again at the stove.
      Cooking oil should be heated to 375 degrees or until a bread cubed browns when added.
      Always turn the fondue pot handle away from the diners and away from the edge of the table.
      To reduce the splattering of the oil, add 1 t. of salt to 3 cups of oil used. Always blot the moisture from the meat.

Meat Fondue Tips:
      Meat fondues can be made by simple heating oil on the stove in your enamel-coated cast iron fondue pot. The best oil to use is peanut oil because it can withstand being heated to 375 degrees F. Oil should always be heated to at least this temperature. You should check it with a thermometer or by placing a piece of bread into the oil. If the bread browns quickly, then the oil is hot enough.
      Meats, vegetables, and bread can all be fried in the oil on metal skewers and served with various sauces. Meat fondues can also be cooked in broth. Simply use a good chicken or beef stock, heat to a boil, skewer the food and cook it in the hot broth. This will give you a lower fat alternative to frying.
      Meats, vegetables, and cheese can also be coated in a batter, seasoned and fried “tempura” style in a fondue pot. This basic batter can be used on anything that goes in the pot. It will even go with fruit. Just sweeten the mixture lightly with sugar.

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 t. baking powder
2 t. sea salt
½ t. nutmeg
2 large eggs
½ cup seltzer water or beer

     Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and seltzer water and mix until the batter is smooth. Use immediately. The addition of the carbonated liquid lightens the batter while it is frying.

Sauces For Your Fondues
      A meat fondue is nothing without the accompanying sauces. There is, of course, the traditional hollandaise, but others such as pesto or barbeque sauce can give you countless possibilities for your fondue.

Pesto
      Pesto is wonderful for fondues made from beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables. Make it ahead, and it will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.

2 cups fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
½ cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
½ cup parmigiano reggiano
½ cup olive oil
Sea salt

     Mince the pine nuts and basil in a blender. Place this mixture in a bowl with the olive oil. Mince the garlic and a pinch of salt together to form a paste. Add the garlic, and cheese to the basil mixture and stir until combined. Store in the refrigerator with some olive oil poured over the top. Keeps for up to one month in the refrigerator.

Creme Fraiche
      The flavor and texture of this are somewhere between sour cream and slightly whipped cream. It blends well with different foods, and has a light refreshing flavor.

1 cup heavy cream
3 tbs buttermilk

     Stir the cream and buttermilk together in a clean glass jar with a tightly fitting lid. Put on the counter and let rest for 24 hours. Then put it in the refrigerator to chill and thicken. The Creme Fraiche will keep for 10 days in the refrigerator.

Garlic Mayonnaise
      This mayonnaise is wonderful with vegetables. Try adding cumin or curry for a spiced mayonnaise. Fresh herbs such as dill, thyme or tarragon would also be wonderful in this to go with meats and fish.

4 cloves of garlic
2 egg yolks
1 ¼ cups olive oil
1 t. dijon mustard
2 t. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

     Cream the garlic and a pinch of salt into a paste. In a blender or with a whisk, beat the garlic and egg yolks until pale yellow. Add the oil in a slow stream while whisking or with the blender running. When the oil is half gone, add the mustard and the lemon juice. Add the rest of the oil while mixing until the mixture has thickened. Season with salt and pepper. This will keep in the refrigerator for five days.

Blue Cheese Sauce
      Use this as a dipping sauce for your fondue, or for vegetables. It is so delicious that you will most likely never go back to bottled again.

2/3 cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 T. milk

     Whisk the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, worcestershire sauce and bleu cheese in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add enough milk to make the consistency of batter. Cover and refrigerate.

All-American Barbecue Sauce
      This is a little bit spicier than traditional barbecue sauce. Make it ahead; it will last several weeks in the refrigerator.

2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
½ cup cabernet
1 cup water
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
1 t. dried red pepper flakes
1 T. freshly grated ginger
3 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. honey
¼ t. cayenne pepper
½ t. sea salt
freshly ground pepper

     Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan. Sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and sauté a couple minutes more. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Simmer for 30 minutes. Use as a marinade for chicken, meat and ribs.

Chutney Curry Sauce
      Our fondue table always includes this curry sauce. For chicken or beef, it is a perfect accompaniment.

1 cup mayonnaise
2 T. mango chutney
2 t. curry powder
2 t. grated lime zest
¼ cup fresh lime juice
½ t. sea salt

     Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Chill and serve.

Honey Mustard
      This will keep up to three months in the refrigerator. It will become a staple with all of your fondues. A cut above the ballpark mustard, you will use it with many foods.

½ cup dry mustard
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 large egg
1/3 cup clover honey

     In a small bowl, combine the mustard and the vinegar. Cover and allow to stand at least 4 hours at room temperature.
      Pour the mustard mixture into a blender, add the egg and the honey and blend until smooth.
      Heat a double boiler over simmering water. Add the mustard mixture and cook until thickened to a pudding consistency, about five minutes. Remove the top pan from the double boiler and let the mustard cool for five minutes.
      Pour the mustard into a sterilized jar and cover with the lid tightly. Refrigerate.

Classic Bearnaise Sauce
      This sauce goes well with all of the meats that you would make in the fondue style. Try it along with other sauces to make your fondue evening complete.

3 T. shallots, finely chopped
2 t. Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 t. fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 t. fresh thyme, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chardonnay vinegar
6 egg yolks
3 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

     In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, add the shallots, parsley, and herbs. Boil the mixture rapidly and reduce by half. Strain the liquid and cool.
      Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, alternating with the butter to keep the sauce a mayonnaise consistency. Refrigerate until cool.

Cocktail Sauce
      This will be great for your beef and fish fondues. Try frying shrimp and serving it with the great sauce.

1 T. shallots, finely chopped
1 T. chopped horseradish
1 T. lemon juice
¾ cup ketchup
1 t. Tabasco sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

     In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Chill and serve.

Horseradish Cream
      This is one of my favorite sauces for meat. Use it in combination with mustard or the cocktail sauce for your own version.

1 T. chopped horseradish
¾ cup sour cream
1 T. shallots, finely chopped

     In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Chill and serve.

Dijon Cream Sauce
      This sauce came about by accident. We lightly whipped some cream to come up with an impromptu creme fraiche, added some mustard and magic was born.

1 cup whipping cream
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 tsp sea salt
¼ t. freshly ground pepper

     In the cold bowl of a mixer, with cold beaters, beat the whipping cream. It should be at the point when the cream will just hold the mark of the beaters when whipped, without sinking. It will be about as thick as ketchup. Fold in the mustard, and salt and pepper. Use immediately.

Sweet and Sour Dill Cream
      This sauce goes with your fish and vegetable fondues.

½ cup sour cream
1½ T. honey
1 T. dill, chopped
      In a small bowl, combine the ingredients, and serve.

Teriyaki Sauce
      A light soy sauce for dipping meat, chicken and vegetables.

½ cup superior soy sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
1 tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

     In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Chill and serve.

Sherry Dip
      This provides a great dipping sauce to go with all of your favorite fondues. You can make this up to one day ahead.

2 T. fresh garlic, minced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup tamari
1 cup water
6 T. fresh lemon juice
½ cup dry sherry
2 T. fresh ginger, grated
¼ cup sugar

     In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Serve with the dumplings.

Spicy Hawaiian Sauce
      A nice addition to the traditional fondue sauces. This one combines pineapple and tomatoes.

14 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
6 oz plain canned tomato sauce
2 T. cabernet vinegar
1 T. superior soy sauce
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. white onion, finely chopped

     Combine the above ingredients and simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Hollandaise Sauce
      Hollandaise, like mayonnaise, is an emulsion. The difference is that it is the egg yolks that hold the butter together. The trick in this sauce is to keep the egg yolks at a low even heat as the melted butter is added.

8 T. unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
Sea salt
White pepper

     Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Cool the butter to room temperature. Mix the egg yolks together with the lemon juice in a double boiler that is simmering over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the butter in a slow, steady stream. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until the sauce is thickened. Serve immediately.
Note: If the sauce should separate or curdle, add an ice cube and whisk briskly until it has melted. This will bring the sauce back together.

Tarragon Mustard Sauce
1 cup prepared mayonnaise
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. whole-grain style mustard
2 T. fresh tarragon, chopped

      Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Chill and serve.

Chipotle Mayonnaise
1 cup prepared mayonnaise
2 chipotle chilies, packed in Adobo, pureed
1 t. fresh lime juice
½ t. sea salt

     Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Chill and serve.

Classic Swiss Fondue
      Fondue is a gift that you serve in special moments of gathering. It is a great mixture that symbolizes a meal that forces us to slow down and gather around the table. It makes us linger and enjoy the company around us.

1 clove fresh garlic
2 cups chardonnay wine
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 lb imported Swiss cheese, diced
3 T. all-purpose flour
½ cup kirsch
1 t. sea salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
¼ t. nutmeg

     Cut the garlic, and rub the bottom of the fondue pot to season it. Discard the garlic and pour the wine in the pot. Place the pot over low heat and heat slightly until bubbles form. Do not boil the liquid. Add the lemon juice.
      Place the cheese in a bowl and toss with the flour. Then add the cheese to the wine mixture, stirring as you add it. Be sure that the cheese is melted after each addition. After the mixture begins to get bubbly and hot, add the kirsch and seasonings. Move the pot to a warmer and serve.

Southwestern Cheese Fondue
2 cups Gruyère cheese, finely diced
2 cups Emmenthal cheese, finely diced
1½ T. cornstarch
2 T. fresh garlic cloves, creamed
1 1/3 cups Chardonnay white wine
1T. fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 T kirsch
freshly ground nutmeg to taste if desired
1 T. canned chipotle chile in adobe sauce, finely chopped
Accompaniments:
Assorted roasted vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and potatoes
Bread sticks
Cubes of day-old sourdough bread

     In a bowl toss together the cheeses and the cornstarch. In a four-quart saucepan, add the garlic, wine and lemon juice. Bring liquid just to a boil and stir in cheese mixture by handfuls. Bring mixture to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring, and stir in kirsch, nutmeg, chilies and pepper to taste. Transfer the fondue to a warming pot and set over a low flame. Serve.

Brie and Wild Mushroom Fondue
      From Bon Appetit magazine, porcini and shiitake mushrooms are the delicious difference in this fondue. Other varieties would work well, too.
1 cup water
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, finely chopped
2 T. shallots, finely chopped
1 pound ripe Brie cheese, well chilled, rind trimmed, cheese cut into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 T. cornstarch
1 cup dry white wine
      For dipping: Bite-size pieces of cooked meat, steamed quartered small red-skinned potatoes, steamed asparagus or green beans, and bite-size pieces of French bread or focaccia
      *Dried porcini mushrooms are available at Italian markets, specialty foods stores and many supermarkets.
      Bring 1 cup water to boil in small saucepan. Add porcini mushrooms. Remove from heat and let stand until mushrooms soften, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer porcini to work surface. Coarsely chop porcini. Reserve porcini and soaking liquid.
      Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add shallot; sauté 1 minute. Add porcini and soaking liquid, leaving any sediment from liquid behind. Increase heat to high. Simmer until liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)
      Toss Brie with cornstarch in large bowl to coat. Add wine to mushrooms. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Add cheese to mushrooms in three batches, whisking after each addition until cheese melts before adding more. Continue whisking until mixture is smooth and just begins to simmer (do not boil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
      Transfer fondue to fondue pot. Set heat. Serve with chicken, vegetables and bread.

Herbed Tomato Fondue
       Adapted from a recipe of Julia Child’s, this unique fondue should be served with bread cubes and vegetables

2 T. shallots, minced
2 T. unsalted butter
2½ cups Italian canned tomatoes, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs, such as basil, Italian parsley, thyme, or tarragon

     In a small sauté pan, over medium heat, add the butter. Add the shallots and cook for two minutes without browning. Add the tomatoes and cook covered over moderately high heat for several minutes to thicken the mixture. When it has thickened, fold in the herbs and serve warm.

Chili Con Queso
      From Bon Appetit magazine, this spicy appetizer is perfect for a last-minute party.

1/4 cup plus 2 T. unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 T. all purpose flour
1 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes, drained, chopped
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
12 ounces cheddar, grated (about 3½ cups)
Tabasco
Tortilla chips

     Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 12 minutes. Stir in flour. Continue to cook until flour is just golden, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, chilies and cream cheese and cook until cheese melts, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Simmer until mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add cheddar and stir until melted and mixture bubbles, about 4 minutes. Season with Tabasco. Transfer to a fondue pot. Serve with tortilla chips.

Fried Fish Fondue
with Coriander Sauce

      Many times a recipe can be adapted to a fondue. In this Gourmet Magazine recipe, you should prepare the sauce, then dredge the fish or seafood in flour for your guests to cook fondue style.

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 t. paprika
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cayenne, or to taste
3 T. vegetable oil plus additional for the fondue pot
2 pounds skinless firm-fleshed white
fish filet, such as cod or halibut,
cut into 16 equal pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging the fish

     In a food processor or blender purée the coriander, the parsley, the garlic, the lemon juice, the paprika, the cumin, the cayenne, 3 tablespoons of the oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil in the fondue pot to 375 degrees F. Dredge the fish in the flour, shaking off the excess. Skewer the fish, add to the fondue pot and fry for a five minutes until crisp and cooked through. Transfer the fish to paper towels to drain, and serve with the sauce.

Fondue Shrimp
with Oriental Peanut Butter Sauce

      This shrimp should be cooked in oil at 375 degrees F. Heat the oil in the fondue pot over the stove, then move it to the warming burner. If the oil cools, then heat it back on the stove.

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
cayenne to taste
2 tablespoons green onion, thinly sliced
1 large egg
2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying the shrimp in the fondue pot

     In a small heavy saucepan combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, 1/3 cup of water, and cayenne, bring the mixture just to a boil, whisking until it is smooth. Whisk in the scallion greens. Keep the sauce warm.
      In a small bowl whisk together the egg and the remaining 2 tablespoons water and add the shrimp. In a large plastic bag have ready the flour. Add the shrimp, drained well, to the flour, and in a sieve shake them to knock off the excess flour.
      In the fondue pot, heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. Add the shrimp on skewers, a few at a time, stirring them once, for 1 minute, or until they are just cooked through. Serve the shrimp with the sauce.

Premium Chocolate Fondue
1 cup premium cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger), sifted
1 1/4 cups spring water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons heavy cream
5 ounces Scharffen Berger or Bernard C Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Pound cake and fruit (such as bananas, apples, strawberries, and plums), cut into bite sized pieces

     Sift the cocoa into mixing bowl and set aside. Place the water, sugar, and corn syrup into a pot and bring to boil. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until sugar solution has reduced by about 30 percent. Pour the cocoa powder into the solution and blend with a whisk until smooth.
      Return the chocolate mixture to the stove and continue cooking over medium heat. Add heavy cream, bring to boil and allow to simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate. Pour into fondue pot and keep warm.

Brandied Butterscotch Fondue

3 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
8 T. unsalted butter
4 T. brandy
¼ t. sea salt
      Whisk the sugar and water together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat without stirring until the sugar is deep brown. Swirl the pan as the sugar heats. Brush the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in cold water to keep the sugar from crystallizing.
      Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream. Carefully swirl the pan to combine the ingredients. When the sauce stops bubbling, return it to the heat and stir it with a metal spoon.
      Bring the sauce to a boil again, add the butter, and remove it from the heat. Stir in the brandy and salt. Serve warm. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to30 days.
Note: A nonfat version of this sauce would be to use 3 cups sugar and ¾ cup water. After caramelizing the sugar serve the sauce.

Champagne Chocolate Fondue
      This should be served with pieces of fruit and cake. Try frying small mint leaves to go along with it.

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup champagne
1/3 cup sugar

     Chop the chocolate into small chunks. In a heavy saucepan, warm the cream, champagne, and sugar over medium heat. Remove from the heat and quickly add the chocolate. Whisk it until the chocolate is melted. Serve warm.
      This fondue can be reheated over a double boiler or on fifty percent power in the microwave. It will keep in the refrigerator for one month.