Paul and I eat pretty simply most of the time, partly for nutritional reasons and partly out of laziness. The times I really love cooking are when I am planning a fabulous dinner party or trying out a new dish for a gathering. Almost a year ago I printed out a Barefoot Contessa recipe, Baked Fontina. I love Saganaki, a cheese dish flamed with alcohol at a local Mediterranean restaurant. This dish seemed like it could be just as good so I filed it away for future use.
Italian Fontina is called for, which I used, but Danish Fontina would be a less expensive, probably almost as delicious alternative. Since I (gulp) paid over $15 a pound for the Italian, I will probably try the Danish next time. Since I was taking this to a birthday party, I talked myself into the Italian. Need I say it was an unqualified hit? People (including me) were standing over the dish and indulging themselves. In the original recipe a crusty baguette was specified. I decided to toast a sliced baguette in the oven. I will give you those directions too.
1-½ pounds Italian Fontina, rind removed and 1-inch diced
¼ cup good olive oil (I like California extra virgin)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (it helps to use a garlic slicer)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 toasted baguettes (see below)
Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.
Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a broiler proof dish. I used an 8 ½ x 10 ½ glazed earthenware dish. 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 or so, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown. I kept peeking to make sure I didn’t burn the cheese!
Serve right out of the oven with a bowl of toasted baguette slices. Mangia!
Slice baguettes ½ inch thick. Brush with olive oil on one side. Spread out on baking sheets oil side up and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, until light golden and crisp.