Cheese lovers, this one is for you! Baked melty Fontina cheese with garlic, herbs, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon to cut through the richness and some crusty bread for dipping, scooping and cheese-pulling glory. A glass of wine is optional, but highly recommended!
This recipe comes from The Red Cat restaurant in NYC via Ina Garten. I made a few adjustments by reducing the olive oil and adding some lemon juice to brighten it up. Apparently some restaurant-goers order just this and a salad and call it dinner?! I can get on board with that.
Be sure to splurge on a high-quality Italian fontina cheese, which is generally labeled as Fontina Val D’aosta. Anything labeled Fontinella, Fontal, or Fontella is not true Italian Fontina and has too much moisture to work in this dish. You can also distinguish these by the red rind. Fontina Val D’aosta will have a natural brown rind and is slightly firmer than these.
Invite some people you REALLY like and get to dipping!
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 pound Fontina Val D’aosta, rind removed and cut in 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
French baguette, torn or sliced, for serving
Preheat the broiler on high. Place a small cast-iron skillet or baking dish into the oven to preheat with the oven. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of the skillet. Add the cheese cubes over top. Sprinkle the garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper on the cheese. Squeeze the lemon over top and place the skillet in the oven under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown on top. Serve with a crusty baguette.
Inspiration: Baked Fontina on foodnetwork.com