The "Party Food" That's Even Better On Weeknights
There are a few myths surrounding fondue that I'd like to dispel. The first is that you need a dedicated fondue set to make it. You don't. I mean, if you have one lying around, cool, but it's not at all necessary. Any enamel or ceramic-lined pot will work. As for the those long spears (pictured below) that you use to stab and dip? Yes they're objectively awesome, but you know what else is long-ish with sharp, spiky things on the end? A fork.
Really, the most useful thing about a fondue set is that they're designed to so that there's room to put a candle or some warming mechanism underneath. But there are workarounds here, too. You can set the pot on an oven rack to lift it off the table slightly, then just slide a tea candle underneath. Or, you can just gently reheat it on the stove if it starts to thicken. Alternatively, you can just keep the pot over a low flame, gather everyone around the stove, and eat there, which is actually pretty fun.
That brings me to the second fondue myth: Because fondue comes with its own intricate serving equipment, we've basically designated it as party or special occasion food. But I would argue that it's actually a really smart dish to throw together on a weeknight when you don't have that much time or bandwidth. Fondue is essentially a pot of melted cheese, so...not hard. Everything else, and I say this with the greatest affection, is just random stuff: Cubes of bread, raw fruits and vegetables, cooked vegetables, cooked meats, or literally anything you have hanging out in your fridge that you think might benefit from a bath in bubbling cheese. This isn't overly prescriptive cooking; you can dip what you have, use any cheese that melts, and even play around with the type of alcohol (acidic white wines are classic, but red wine, beer, and even dry cider will work).
So, fondue is fast, easy, and flexible, which, in my book, makes it perfectly suitable for a weeknight dinner. Plus, if there's any one season for eating a molten pot of cheese, this is probably it.
The recipe here serves 8 to 10, but is easily halve-able if you're cooking for a smaller crowd. It also comes with a bunch of suggestions for what you can stir into the pot if you want to vary the flavor: smoked paprika, pesto, caramelized onions, and plenty more.
It's Tuesday, you probably have some cheese in the fridge, think about it...
You don't need a special fondue set to make fondue, and you don't need a special occasion, either.
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Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.