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“It’s like fondue in a cast-iron pot–you just throw everything in and it’s ready in six minutes.”
~ Ina Garten
When I received Ina’s new cookbook at Christmastime, I knew this would be one of the first recipes I’d try. I’m not much of a cheese person (remember the story about me, a weird kid, taking my cheese off my pizza?), but as soon as I saw the photo for Baked Fontina and read ingredients, I began looking for an opportunity to make this. I was not disappointed. I loved the herbs and slightly salty taste of the hot cheese. I loved that I could serve this family-style for an appetizer (first for Valentine’s Day and later for a cocktail party at our house). I love that it requires minimal-effort and is super-fast to cook. Really, what else could you ask for in an appetizer?
There were a few reviews on Food Network, with about half of them saying that the fontina was too salty. I didn’t think so at all. I’ve made this with both thyme and rosemary, and also with only thyme. Fantastic both ways. But feel free to adjust salt, pepper, and other herbs according to taste.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That? (p. 97)
Serves 4-6 (or ~12 with multiple appetizers)
- 1 1/2 lb. Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and cut into 1-in. dice
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
Ensure a rack is 5-inches below the broiler. Preheat broiler.
Spread cheese evenly across a 12-in. cast iron skillet. Drizzle on olive oil. Combine garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle over cheese. Sprinkle salt and pepper over cheese.
Place under broiler for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling. Cheese should be beginning to brown.
Serve hot, right out of the pan with a warm, crusty baguette.