This recipe for Instant Caramelized Shallot-Cheese Fondue by Chris Nuttall-Smith is exactly the dish you pull from your pack at 7,500 feet as a pre-winter storm blows past. It’s also exactly the dish you want while car camping on a crisp fall day when everybody’s got rosy cheeks and ridiculous smiles and is high on that whole outdoor life thing. Wherever you make it, this one-pot is drop-dead easy and crazy delicious, and it will make you a bona fide backcountry star.
INSTANT CARAMELIZED SHALLOT-CHEESE FONDUE
— Ingredient weight: 2 1/2 pounds
— Can be cooked over a fire, or backpacking stove, good for all campers
— Keeps: 3 days unrefrigerated, or up to 1 week kept cold
1 tablespoon salted butter
3 small shallots, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces Gruyère cheese, rind removed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Scant ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup dry white wine (thawed)
Prepared cheese and shallots (thawed)
1 crusty baguette
A few hardy, crunchy dippables such as endive leaves or apple slices
1. CARAMELIZE THE SHALLOTS (at home)
In a small skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and salt and let them caramelize slowly and gently, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender, sweet-tasting, and an appealing hazelnut brown, 15 to 25 minutes. Let the shallots cool, then wrap tightly in a small piece of parchment paper or wax paper.
2. PREP THE CHEESE (at home)
Meanwhile, over a small bowl, grate the Gruyère on the coarse side of a box grater. Add the cornstarch and nutmeg and toss to combine thoroughly. Pack the cheese mixture into a resealable bag or airtight container, stick the packet of caramelized shallots inside the bag (on top of the cheese), seal the bag, and refrigerate or freeze. (The cheese mix and shallots will keep for 1 month, frozen.)
3. MELT, BURBLE AND SERVE (at camp)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the wine to a simmer. Add the cheese mixture and shallots. Decrease the heat to low and stir to melt the cheese.
Once the cheese has melted and the fondue is bubbling gently, decrease the heat to its lowest setting. Your goal is warm, very gently bubbling cheese. If your stove’s lowest setting has the cheese bubbling furiously, feel free to shuttle the pan on and off the burner.
Serve the fondue with sliced or torn bread and crunchy dippables, as well as forks if there are known double-dippers in your midst.
From “Cook It Wild” Copyright (copyright) 2023 by Chris Nuttall-Smith. Photograph copyright (copyright) 2023 by Maya Visnyei. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
The Associated Press