No, seriously. Having worked at a certain fondue restaurant for a number of years, I could probably now make fondue in my sleep. But it doesn’t really take all that much practice, and — here’s the thing — it’s faster to make than Velveeta dip. You do not need a special pot. You don’t even need a double boiler. Since I made “Mexican” fondue tonight, that’s what we’ll go for first; look further down for other variations.
- 1/4 cup beer, cheap is fine, room temperature and preferably a little flat
- 1/4 cup salsa, from a jar? Fine.
- 1T minced garlic
- Shredded Cheddar cheese* — about two cups, maybe more, maybe less
- Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, cilantro (all optional)
*Note: At least at my grocery store, pre-shredded cheese costs the same per ounce as a block. I find this handy for omelets, nachos, and last-minute fondue.
Put the shredded cheese in a bowl and toss with a tiny bit of flour. You just want a light coating on the cheese.
Meanwhile, put the beer, salsa and garlic into a nonstick skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir and bring to a simmer. Once you’ve got reasonable bubbles going, add a tongful of cheese — about a meatball’s worth. Stir! After that melts, add a little more cheese. Keep going, a half cup or so of cheese at a time, stirring all the while, until you have achieved your desired thickness. As long as you keep stirring you shouldn’t have problems with burning. This doesn’t take very long. If you want, you can do this all in a double boiler, but it takes longer; same with a microwave.
Once the cheese is melted, keep stirring and cooking for another minute or so, just to cook the flour taste out. Take it off the heat and add worcestershire (a dash), hot sauce (same), cilantro, or whatever you please. Stick it in a bowl and eat.
That was fast, right? So, now that you’ve got that down, you can also try:
- 1/4-1/2c white wine
- 1T garlic
- 1t mustard powder
- shot of kirchwasser (optional)
- Shredded Swiss (Gruyere is good) cheese
- Same as the “Mexican” fondue, but with less salsa, more beer, and mustard powder. Oh, and pepper.
Once you get the hang of this, you can really try any combination of liquid with any old lot of cheese you might have lingering about.