The first recipe that screamed to me from the pages of Ina Garten's How Easy is That?, was her Baked Fontina. I was seduced by the gloriously melted cheese and had to have it.
Adapted from Ina Garten's How Easy Is That?
1-1/2 pounds Italian Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch diced (*I ended up using an equal amount of fresh mozzarella, more on that later)
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty French baguette
Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.
Distribute the cubes of Fontina (or mozzarella in my case) evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.
Serve the baked Fontina (mozzarella) family-style - right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip.
Notes/Results: Ina recommended the Fontina Val d'Aosta, so I hightailed it to the city and bought roughly 1/2 pound ($11 for just 1/2 pound). A couple of days later, I went to make this and opened up my package of Fontina Val d'Aosta. The smell of the cheese was extremely offensive - extremely! It was so bad that I had to wrap it up and take it outside immediately. I bought the Fontina from a reputable store, but somewhere along the line the cheese had definitely gone bad. I had my heart set on a glorious pot of melted cheese, so I took out some fresh mozzarella and went ahead with the recipe. I'm sure Ina's recommendation for the Fontina Val d'Aosta is fabulous, and I'll definitely give it another try, but the fresh mozzarella worked wonderfully too! I think you could easily adapt this one to use a lot of different cheeses. I served my Baked Mozzarella with some chunky bread and sliced pepperoni. Lips were smacking, mouths were happy, and all was fabulous!
Special Note: If anyone has had Fontina Val d'Aosta, I'd love to hear about it. I'm sure it's a wonderful cheese and am convinced I just bought a bad piece.
|Yum! Bring on the ooey gooey cheese!|
This does look fabulous! Great for upcoming parties. Am loving the herbs--I dig cooking with fresh herbs. Sorry about your fontina. Must have been seriously bad to have to take it outside. It stinks (in your case truly) to pay a hefty chunk for an ingredient that isn't pleasing. I hope someone answers about it--I'm curious now after reading your post. I've only recently tried fontina, but it wasn't the fancy stuff; just regular grocery store variety. Still not cheap! But good and no offensive aroma.ReplyDelete
I actually have some very nice fontina - it melts so sweetly, I keep it around for this and that. Ina's right - this is so easy. And yes, mozzarella also works beautifully. The photo draws me in and lets me linger....longingly.ReplyDelete
good lord this looks so good... I bet it would work well with a blue cheese too! oh heaven on a plate!ReplyDelete
I too am seduced by this gloriously melted cheese! It sounds wonderful, especially with the touch of rosemary. Wow ~ What an appetizers!ReplyDelete
I've never had that kind of cheese, but am curious if it's supposed to smell that way! As far as your finished result..oh my! Sounds just amazing!!ReplyDelete
That looks dynamite!!ReplyDelete
Yum!!! This looks melty and delectable!!;)ReplyDelete
FOntina does have a scent, but definitely not over the top turn your nose. I have to try this, I love fontina..and it is very affordable!ReplyDelete
OMG Kim, what a fantastic appetizer! My family would just dive right into this. It's almost like a meal, it just needs a bottle of wine. A bottle of "good" wine, as Ina would say! :o)ReplyDelete
OH god! How could this not be so awesome!!!??ReplyDelete
I almost have to avert my eyes. Because if I don't there is a danger that I'll run out, buy fontina, and make this. And then eat it all myself. Very. Dangerous.ReplyDelete
I have never had that cheese before, but it's so good to know that this recipe is adaptable with other cheeses! It looks amazing!ReplyDelete
I have bought my Mont D'Or for Christmas (and it is pretty stinky, have it double wrapped and the smell is sneaking out!!!)ReplyDelete
The baked cheese looks amazing.
Um, pretty sure you had me at melted cheese! :D I've never had that cheese before - that sucks that it went bad - did you take it back? For that amount of money I would have.ReplyDelete
Glad the mozzarella was a good substitute though!
This looks fabulous. Love warm cheese! And anything by Ina is so great!ReplyDelete
I love Ina Garten. She can do no wrong in my book.ReplyDelete
Just a pot of melted cheese? Can I please be invited next time? This is my idea of heaven. Hope you are doing well, Kim!ReplyDelete
Kim – That is too bad about the cheese. We are having the same problem with Chaumes. It’s a wonderful cheese (swooning now at the thought of a piece) but the shipments must have gone bad and we can’t find it anywhere. That may have happened to your Fontina. Your pots looks like a fun one – a fondue. Yum – we love melty cheese and baguettes!ReplyDelete
I'm a sucker for anything with melted cheese on it or in it. Fontina is no stronger smelling than Gruyere. I'd definitely let them know in the cheese store; they should make good on that expensive half pound. My favorite guilty pleasure as a teenager was waiting until no one was home, then spearing a chunk of mozzarella and melting it over the gas flame on mom's stove (yes, it was messy, lol).ReplyDelete
You adapted the dish really well with the mozzarella. I have enjoyed fontina cheese many times but not the variety Val D' asta-what's the difference?ReplyDelete
I love preparing Ina's recipes. I will have to take a peak at that recipe too.
this might be the most amazing thing i've ever seen. baked cheese?! i mean seriously, does it get better then that? oh my gosh, i know what i'm making for christmas!ReplyDelete
such a bummer about the fontina, especially after spending all that money. i've never had a bad experience with fontina before, so maybe you could get your money back? i bet the mozzerella was a great replacement though!
Oh My - this looks so yummy. I have never seen anything like this - can't wait to try!ReplyDelete
I've been anxious to try this recipe also Kim. It looked so appealing in Ina's photo and reminded me of fondue.ReplyDelete
I've used fontina, but I'm not familiar with the one Ina recommended. I would be heartbroken to have spent that much on a cheese that was bad. What a shame.
Hope your holidays are happy.
That looks so good! And much easier to make than fondue. I love how it's served family style. That last picture is making me drool . . .ReplyDelete
Mmm, melty cheese..ReplyDelete
Sorry your fontina was a bust, but good to know other cheeses work! I love all things Ina.. and cheese. ☺
A gorgeous dish. I have had fontina many times and although it has a stronger smell than some cheeses, there must have been something wrong with it if it was that bad. ;-( It looks perfectly wonderful with the mozzarella. ;-)ReplyDelete
I know you know quality cheese and that you know the difference between pungent cheeses and cheese that has just gone bad.ReplyDelete
You just reminded me, it's time to smoke cheese today! But when it is done and aged a few weeks from now, I might give one block of it this treatment of Ina's!