Have you seen the episode of The Barefoot Contessa where Ina visits a restaurant in New York City and orders Baked Fontina? It is one of my favorites! I still recall how cheesy and delicious the dish looked. I made it myself the same day, but the recipe makes much more than we can eat. Inspired by Ina's recipe, my Baked Fontina Appetizer For Two is modified for two generous servings, or three, if you must. To truly make it my own, I added a bit of heat as well.
This dish is super simple to put together, it looks gorgeous, and pairs well with a glass of wine. Delipair recommends a California White Chardonnay as its top pick for pairing with Baked Fontina.
How easy is that?
- Fontina cheese
- Ina recommends using Italian Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, but Italian Fontina is a day's drive from my house, so I picked up a nice mid-priced Fontina at the grocery store. See my Top Tip about the perfect Fontina for this recipe!
- Olive oil
- Use good extra virgin olive oil for best results. This is not the time to use the everyday olive oil.
- Garlic cloves
- Thinly sliced is best, but minced works as well
- Fresh thyme leaves
- Fresh rosemary leaves
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Freshly ground is best for this recipe
- Crushed red pepper
- Hot sauce
- Use your favorite. I love Cholula sauce.
- French baguette
Instructions for Baked Fontina Appetizer For Two:
- Cube the Fontina cheese and place it in a cast iron skillet. I used a 6 inch cast iron skillet.
- Top it with garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
- Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
- Drizzle with "good" olive oil.
- Pop the whole thing under the broiler for six minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
- While the cheese is piping hot, splash a little hot sauce on top.
- Serve immediately, scooped up with crusty French bread.
If you like the idea of sharing a hot bubbly caldron of melted cheese with someone special, this one's for you. The dramatic cheese pull is worth the little bit of effort it takes to make my Baked Fontina Appetizer For Two!
Are you ready for my top suggestion for making Baked Fontina Appetizer for Two? BelGioioso Fontina Snacking Cheese in individually wrapped snack sized packages! Each one is .75 ounces so you'll need eleven of these. I used twelve because who doesn't like a little more cheese? This cheese is made in Wisconsin, melts beautifully, tastes buttery and creamy without any graininess. The package contains 24 little packages of cheesy love, so you'll have enough to make the recipe twice or snack to your heart's content.
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for promoting BelGiosioso cheese. I just found it to be an easy, inexpensive and delicious cheese for the recipe. And, for some reason, they just make me smile.
Baked Fontina Appetizer For Two
- 6" cast iron skillet The advantage of using a cast iron skillet is the ability to quickly warm the dish on the stovetop if it starts to lose its ooey gooeyness.
- Substitute baking dish that is approved for use under the broiler
- 8 ounces Italian Cheese
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves chopped or thinly sliced (recommend thinly sliced)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground black pepper or crushed red pepper (recommend combination of the two)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 ounces French baguette Crusty French Baguette
- Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 6" from the heat.
- Cut the Fontina cheese into ¾" cubes. Place the cubes evenly in the bottom of a 6-inch cast-iron skillet.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the top.
- Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle the garlic and herbs evenly over the cheese and olive oil in the skillet.
- Sprinkle the salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper over the cubes of cheese and place the skillet under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbling, and just beginning to brown on top.
- When the cheese is perfectly melty, remove from oven and add a few drops of hot sauce.
- Serve the baked Fontina straight out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for dipping.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.