If you fon-don’t, then this week’s post isn’t really for you. But for those that fon-DO, then let’s get busy.
Ahh, fondue. They say you don’t win friends with salad, but you most certainly do, with fondue. Cheese is one of those things that so many people state to be the one food that they cannot live without. It’s almost always the answer to the age-old icebreaker question, “If you had to live on only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?” … and when ‘cheese’ is so commonly the response, I think it’s totally fair to just class it now as its very own food group.
Fondue gets a bit of a bad rap these days – put on the shelf as a child of the 70’s with other such daggy things as prawn cocktails and curly parsley.
But this fondue, you guys – it’s worthy of dipping aaaaall of the things into, so make sure you have an arsenal of dippers ready for your guests. With this version, I went with a filling and savoury spread of vegetables, steak and carbs to round the fondue out as a full square meal (and my gosh, the garlic toasts are everything).
By the end, the pot was scraped clean and everyone was satisfied.
But fondue truly is all about the cheese, so it goes without saying that the quality and types of cheese you choose will bear weight on the flavour of the final product. I went with a fairly proportionate blend of gruyere, smoked gouda and a gorgeous triple cream brie. The flavour combination was complex and oh-so-creamy, and each of these cheeses get all melty-melty perfectly as well.
But the real secret to the incredible flavour in this fondue is the addition of truffle oil. I always have truffle oil on hand because it is just SO GOOD and if I could put it on everything, I just would. No, it’s not cheap but seriously, the little splurge is totally worth it.
A little sprinkle of truffle salt on the steak doesn’t go astray either… its hard to get too much of that perfect (seriously, perfect) earthy truffle flavour.
If there is some advice I could offer when putting on this fondue, it would be to serve it over a burner so as to keep the cheese mixture warm and smooth – although, if you don’t have one on hand, the solution is to eat it quickly enough that it just doesn’t have the time to cool – a perfectly good proposition in my mind. Either way, if the mixture does start to thicken up, it is just a matter of whisking in a little splash of white wine to thin it down again.
And speaking of the wine, remember that just like the cheese, the wine you choose will directly impact the flavour. The old rule still applies, only use a wine that you would enjoy drinking with dinner. As for varietals, if you can choose something acidic (such as Sauvignon Blanc), as it will help to keep the texture of the cheese more on the smooth side (yep, really).
So, why not throw a fondue party for your friends, or for date night, or just a flying solo dinner? There aren’t too many things that can top fondue as a fun and engaging meal – after all, what other reactions can a warm pot of melted cheese with wine, steak and garlic elicit apart from praise and reward?
Fondue platters are heaps of fun to put together, they are awesome to photograph (#delicious, #foodporn #etc…) and really, who doesn’t want to partake in a big ‘ol platter of cheese and beautiful treats for dinner, washed down with great wine…. am I right?
Three Cheese & Truffle Fondue With Steak and Garlic Butter Toasts
There ain't no party like a fondue party and this take on the old classic takes it to the next level with the addition of three cheeses and truffle, served with creative garlic sourdough toasts.
- For the fondue:
- 165g Gruyere, grated
- 150g triple cream brie, cubed
- 200g smoked Gouda, grated
- 1½ tablespoons corn flour
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- 1½ cups dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon white truffle oil
- For the steak:
- 300g eye fillet
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil
- 1 teaspoon truffle salt
- For the toasts:
- ½ loaf sourdough, sliced into soldiers
- 50g salted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Various seasonal vegetables and crudités, to serve
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheeses and corn flour. Set aside.
To make the steak, cube the fillet into 2cm pieces.
Toss with oil and truffle salt, then sear on a cast iron pan until done.
Remove from heat and allow to rest.
Meanwhile, prepare the toasts by combining the butter, garlic and parsley.
Set the overhead grill to medium.
Slather the sourdough soldiers with butter and place under the grill until golden.
Flip the toasts over and repeat.
For the fondue, rub the inside of a fondue pot or small saucepan with garlic, discarding the garlic when done.
Pour the wine and truffle oil into the saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat.
When the liquid starts to bubble, add the cheese in small handfuls, stirring each handful until melted and combined before adding the next.
Season with pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.
Place the pot or warmer on a board with the garlic toasts, steak and assorted vegetables and fruits (see note).
Try and use vegetables that are colourful, fresh and in season. I used broccoli florets, Pink Lady apple, red grapes, radish and cornichons, but other great additions include purple cauliflower, persimmons and baby dutch carrots.