The fondue is a cozy occasion. Everyone dips from the same sumptuous pot, and it is the one time when dunking is permissible even by those who adhere to all the social graces.
Originally the fondue was a cheese dish, one cooked with wine and served with bite-size pieces of bread dunked in the cheese mixture. Today, however, the fun-to-do dishes have meats, chocolates or vegetables as their main ingredients.
When preparing your favorite fondue recipe, you’ll need a flame-proof earthenware casserole, alcohol lamp or a chafing dish, long-handled forks for each guest and a wooden fork or wire whisk for stirring. The tasty treats are a great icebreaker at parties and adaptable across the menu from hors-d’oeuvres to dessert. And they are also excellent standing alone as a main course.
The Swiss who claim the fondue as their contribution to the culinary art suggest a glass of kirsch or a dry white wine to top off this adventure in haute cuisine.
Fondue recipes: Chocolate, Asian and vegetable
Chocolate fondue: Heat 1/2 cup cream, 2 tablespoons kirsch, 2 large chocolate bars in ceramic fondue pot over low heat. When chocolate melts, add 1-inch slices of donuts, marshmallows, bananas on long fork and swirl into chocolate.
Oriental style: Combine 1 egg, 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup milk and 1-3/4 flour in large bowl. Heat in ceramic fondue pot at 350 degrees. Dip chicken wings, chicken livers, shrimp, green peppers, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green beans and green onions into batter.
Vegetable: Beat 3 egg yolks, 1/2 cup cream into 1/2 cup butter softened in double boiler; add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp red pepper, 6 chopped anchovies. Keep warm over low heat. Dip favorite vegetables and breadsticks into mixture.
Mini-pizzas: Use pizza mix containing sausage with sauce, cheese and seasonings. Roll out dough. Use a pastry cutter for cutting circles. Put 1 teaspoon sauce on each. Moisten edge with egg white. Fold dough over and seal. Fill pot 1/2 to 2/3 full with oil; heat to 350 degrees on stove. Place on stand over high flame and, using heavy bamboo skewers, cook everything until brown.
Beef: Cut sirloin or tenderloin steak into 1-inch cubes; fill pot 1/2 full, heat to boiling point. Set pot on stand with heat and maintain even temperature. Spear a cube of meat with fondue fork and cook in hot oil to your own taste — rare, medium or well-done.
Cheese fondue: Available in your market’s refrigerator section; also comes in cans. Follow directions on package; use a ceramic pot or casserole, sprinkle in garlic. Season with pre-heated dry white wine and several tablespoons of kirsch. Spear 1-inch cuts of French or Italian bread into mixture. Keep warm and stir.