Potatoes and cheese are married, aren’t they? Or are they just shacking up?
Either way, they are perfect partners. It’s hard to imagine a potato dish that isn’t improved by the addition of cheese.
So when the Idaho Potato Commission asked me to come up with a potato appetizer suitable for New Year’s, my mind turned immediately to cheese – a cheese bath, which is what fondue is.
So let’s dip steamed Idaho fingerlings in a cheese bath, instead of using the usual chunks of bread as the dippers. Fingerlings are small, finger-shaped potatoes that naturally grow small and thin when mature.
Although small in stature, they are big in flavor. You can often find a medley of fingerlings in the grocery store, and it’s nice to have the different colors and shapes in a dish. They have thin skin, so leave it on.
Recipe: Fingerlings and Fondue
Summary: Steamed Idaho fingerling potatoes take a dip in a delicious Swiss cheese fondue bath for a heavenly pairing in a substantial appetizer.
- 1-1 1/2 pounds Idaho Fingerling potatoes (such as Russian Banana Fingerling, Ruby Crescent Fingerling, French Fingerling, Red Thumb Fingerling, Purple Peruvian Fingerling, or a medley of fingerlings)
- Broccoli and/or cauliflower florets
- Raw apple slices (skin left on)
- Raw fresh small button mushroom
- Toothpicks or mid-size bamboo or metal skewers.
- 3 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese (12 ounces)
- 2 cups shredded Emmentaler, Gruyere, or Swiss cheese (8 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons kirsch or dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- A grinding of fresh black pepper
- First, get the dippers ready: Scrub potatoes and place them in a steamer basket over 1 inch simmering water. Cover and steam until tender, about 10-15 minutes. You may also steam them without additional water in the microwave, about 4-5 minutes. Test with a fork to make sure they are done; they should be tender but hold their shape. Cut any large fingerlings in half, and leave the small fingerlings whole. Your goal is to have bite-size pieces. Place steamed potatoes in a serving bowl.
- Lightly steam broccoli and cauliflower florets just until they are crisp-tender (the broccoli should still be bright green), and place them in serving bowls.
- Core and slice the apples (leave skin on) and place in a serving bowl. Clean the mushrooms and place them in a serving bowl.
- Now, make the fondue: In a bowl, toss shredded cheeses with flour; set aside.
- Heat wine and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles rise to the surface. Just before it boils, reduce heat to low and stir in the cheese mixture, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Make sure the cheese is melted before adding more. Stir until mixture bubbles gently.
- Stir in milk, kirsch or sherry, mustard, nutmeg, and pepper.
- Transfer cheese mixture to a fondue pot and adjust fondue burner flame to low. Keep mixture bubbling very gently over the fondue burner.
- Serve with bowls of prepared dippers alongside the fondue, and toothpicks or skewers for guests to use to dip the potatoes and other items into the cheese bath.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 10-12
Culinary tradition: Swiss
The Idaho Potato Commission hired me to create this recipe.