Everything aside, we’re leaving 2020 grateful for the friends and food that got us through the year. Among the lessons we’ve learned: that we never tire of watching our friends bake bread, how much respect we have for parents who make meals everyday, to always, always set ourselves up for success and mise-en-place before cooking, that no one can make a martini like a professional, and how a restaurant’s ambiance really does make food taste better.
Next year, we'd love to ring in 2022 a bit differently, but for now we’re happy to welcome 2021 with this intimate fondue scene, surrounded by our loved ones we’ve been locked down with. Since we’ve nibbled our way from spring to winter, it only felt fitting to break out the grater and ready ourselves for the ultimate snack board.
Part throwback to the 90’s, part earnest effort to recapture our youth, this fondue set is the savory balm we needed to bid 2020 adieu.
Bonus Cocktail Recipe by Erica Iannitti
For the Fondue Cheese:
- 2 cups raclette, finely grated
- 1 cup havarti, finely grated
- 1 cup gruyere, finely grated
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons fino sherry
- 2 teaspoon cracked Jacobsen Salt Co. Tellicherry Peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Jacobsen Salt Co. Kosher Sea Salt
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
First, take a deep breath. Even though fondue feels like fancy restaurant food, it’s actually the perfect dish to thrill your cheese-lover friends with an eye-catching platter of all of their favorite potential cheese-vehicles. Remember, the only thing you could do to mess this up in any way is to either not grate your cheese or to heat them up too quickly, so just stay patient and confident and you’ll be fine. Over medium-low heat, mix your wine, cornstarch, lemon juice and cheeses, stirring frequently as they begin to melt. The alcohol will cook out of the wine as your cheeses get gooey. Keep stirring and after about ten minutes (or when all of the cheese dissolves into a thick liquid) add your sherry, nutmeg, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Transfer cheese to a fondue pot and light a candle beneath it. Serve with your favorite foods to dip into cheese and enjoy!
We consider good bread a necessity (in life but also to accompany this dish), and went with some of our longtime favorites, the Little T American Baker's short and skinny baguette and pretzel bread.
Another non-negotiable for our fondue feast is the Olympia Provisions perfectly smoked Kielbasa or any other charcuterie. To to get a kielbasa or bratwurst to that perfect, nearly-bursting point of doneness, simply spray a grill pan or cast-iron pan with cooking spray, heat your oven to 400 and bake on each side for about seven minutes.
We've also added some raw tomatoes and apples to your display, and to balance it all out, included three types of cooked vegetables:
Boiled Baby Potatoes:
- 1 cup rainbow baby potatoes
- 1 Tablespoon Trapani Fine Sea Salt
Honestly aside from turning on the heat, just remembering to buy the tri-colored baby potatoes is the key to getting this one right. We never see the point of plating with one colored potato if given the option of three. In a large pot, throw your fine sea salt in boiling water, then add a handful of baby potatoes and cook until a fork easily pierces the potatoes flesh, but not so long that their skin begins to peel back–about ten minutes. Drain and set aside to cool before serving.
Roasted Baby Shiitake Mushrooms:
- 12oz baby shiitake mushrooms
- 2 teaspoon Jacobsen Salt Co. Kosher Sea Salt
- 1 Tablespoon good olive oil
Heat oven to 375. Meanwhile, in a small bowl coat mushrooms with oil and salt with your hand. Transfer to a small cast-iron skillet and roast for five minutes before removing from the oven, stirring mushrooms around and returning to the oven for another five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.
- 1 head broccolini, trimmed
- 1 teaspoon Jacobsen Salt Co. Kosher Sea Salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Rinse broccolini and toss with lemon juice, set into a large colander. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place a colander inside- making sure the water level doesn’t quite touch the broccolini inside. Allow the steam to cook the greens until they’ve darkened in color, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with Kosher Sea Salt. Set aside to cool before serving.
BONUS DRINK: My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a cocktail by Erica Iannitti
A cheekily-named twist on a corpse reviver, this cocktail pays homage to one of my favorite novels in recent years. The book follows a young woman determined to stay in bed for a year who, armed with enough sleeping pills to open a pharmacy, nearly accomplishes her goal. In 2018 we saw the plot as a wish fulfillment fantasy, but after 2020, we're returning to Ottessa Moshfegh’s masterpiece with brand new eyes.
Makes two (stiff) cocktails
- 3 oz Freeland Gin
- 1.5 oz lemon juice
- 1.5 oz Cocchi Americano
- 2 bar spoons Jacobsen Co. Honey Syrup
- Green Chartreuse rinse
In two chilled coupes, rinse both glasses with enough Green Chartreuse to coat the inside of the glasses and pour out any excess, set aside. In a mixing tin, pour remaining ingredients over ice and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Strain into your prepped glasses, lay back and contemplate the past 12 months.