I know what you're thinking. "Baked. Fontina. Are you kidding me?" I thought it too, when I first flipped through Ina Garten's new cookbook, How Easy is That? This recipe stopped me in my tracks. First of all, why have I never though of this? Second of all, how soon can I make it?
I bought her cookbook the day it came out (which was last Tuesday), and I made this on Friday night. I had my neighbor over for a girls' night, and I though this, (along with roasted figs with prosciutto), would be the perfect dinner. It turns out, this is the perfect dinner for pretty much any occasion. Melted cheese? Garlic? Fresh herbs? Yes, please.
I really try not to be too overly effusive with my praise recipes when I post here, but with baked fontina, how could I not be? Fontina is pretty delicious on its own, but throw it under the broiler with olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs, and it's elevated to a completely new level. This is sort of like fondue, but I would argue that it's even better. You get a nice and crusty top from the cheese being under the broiler, and if there is anything better than melted cheese, its melted cheese with a browned, crusty top (though that sounds kind of gross, doesn't it?).
Joey happened to be going out to a poker night when I made this, but he couldn't resist trying a few bites before he left. And he just kept eating more and more, until he was late for poker night. I loved this so much that I made it again the following day for lunch. And Joey has said that I should just add this into the weekly dinner rotation permanently. Maybe next time I make it I can get a better picture of it, but really, melted cheese is surprisingly hard to photograph.
One Year Ago: Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
The Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?
- 1 1/2 pounds Italian Fontina, cut into 1-inch dice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbs minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 crusty French baguette
Scatter the Fontina cubes evenly in a 12-inch skillet or cast-iron pan. Drizzle with the olive ol. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and sprinkle evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Place the pan under the broiler for 5-6 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbling, and starting to brown.
Serve family-style: right out of the oven with crusty chunks of bread for dipping.