Posted On Friday, September 14, 2012 at 08:33:15 AM
Fondue — originated from the French verb ‘fondre’. which means ‘to melt’ — basically originated in Switzerland. It gets pretty cold up there in the mountains and the main food available mostly includes dairy products (especially cheese) and plenty of wine.
So one day, an innovative sort of chap probably decided to melt some of that cheese together and happened to add white wine to the pot, which helped break down the cheese — voilà, fondue was born! In fact, wine continues to be an absolutely essential ingredient even today, providing that incredible bite and heady flavour.
Cornflour is another essential, helping stabilise the mixture, because after breaking down the cheese, it needs something to hold the dish together.
The bubbly pot of cheesy goodness is traditionally served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a spirit lamp (rechaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with little bite sized tidbits in — which can span across breads, veggies, meats and more.
One interesting modern anecdote about a fondue, is that if a guy manages to drop his bread piece in the pot while eating it, he has to buy drinks for everyone at his table!
The best part about a fondue is that with its flavouring, one can go far with one’s imagination. When I was attempting to create a signature fondue for our restaurant, I first attempted a Pinacolada Fondue, which unfortunately did not go down well with patrons.
Being a fan of Palak Paneer, I tried a fondue with spinach puree next, and brought in an additional Caribbean element with a splash of coconut milk. Coupled with some Gruyere and Emmental cheese I found my fusion fondue had struck gold!
► As told to Anjali.Shetty@timesgroup.com
Caribbean (Spinach) Fondue
|Pics: Nikhil Ghorpade
• Gruyere and Emmental cheese: 200 gms
• Spinach paste: 1 tbsp
• White wine: 30 ml
• Coconut cream: 30 ml
• Cornflour: 1 tbsp
• Salt: to taste
• Pepper: to taste
• Nutmeg: a pinch
• Melt some butter in a pot and take both the freshly-grated Gruyere and Emmental cheeses and melt them together. Both are famous Swiss cheeses for fondues
• Keep stirring till the mixture is smooth and now add in that slightly acidic white wine as well as the spinach paste
• Mix gently and steadily till everything is well infused with each other
• Add in the salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg
• Now, add the cornflour to ensure a tightish cheese mixture
• The fondue can be finished with some a touch of coconut cream and some light seasoning
► Originally from Trinidad, Michelle Fournillier graduated from Switzerland and France. Currently the Junior Sous Chef at Out of the Blue, Pune, Michelle previously worked at Blue Strawberry as the Pastry Chef de Partie for two years.
It was during her post-graduate days in Switzerland that she met several Indians and wanted to visit Asia.
Her love for spices and exotic ingredients brought this bubbly chef here and now, she plans to start her own restaurant once she learns all aspects of managing a kitchen