I was enjoying my morning coffee this morning watching Barefoot Contessa on television. I started thinking about what appetizer I would make the next week for Ina Fridays. A group of blogging pals, including me, get together online the first Friday of every month and make, photograph and post a recipe from Ina Garten. I knew this month's theme is appetizers but I had not yet chosen a recipe. Then I noticed in the top corner of my television screen it said Fri 8/1.
Fri 8/1? That could only mean one thing, today is Ina Friday! I started scrambling. I remembered an episode of Barefoot Contessa from last week where Ina visited a restaurant in NYC and order Baked Fontina. She then demonstrated how to make the recipe at home. I recalled how cheesy and delicious it looked. I pulled the recipe up online I saw that I had everything I need except the cheese. A quick trip to the market for Fontina and I was in the kitchen. Ina recommends using Italian Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, but I live out in the sticks and Italian Fontina is a day's drive from my house. 🙂
This dish is super simple to make. Just cube Fontina cheese in a cast iron skillet. I cut the recipe in half and used a small cast iron skillet. Top it with garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
Season with salt and pepper (I used crushed red pepper), and drizzle with "good" olive oil.
Pop the whole thing under the broiler for six minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
While it is piping hot, enjoy with crusty French bread. I used Meyer lemon Rosemary bread because it is what I had. And, it was perfect, bringing even extra flavor to this cheesy masterpiece.
All pictures in this post are mine but the recipe is all Ina!
1 ½ pounds Italian Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
¼ 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 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 family style right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip.