Cheese Fondue With Fennel and Tomatoes
Note: Offer 6 cups of cut-up vegetables for dipping, such as steamed broccoli and cauliflower florets or strips of raw fennel and red bell pepper.
• 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 c. diced fennel
• 1 c. diced onion
• 1 (14-oz.) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained well
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
• 10 oz. Emmentaler or Swiss cheese, shredded (3 1/2 c.)
• 6 oz. Comté or Gruyère cheese, shredded (2 c.)
• 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
• 1 tsp. fennel seeds, gently crushed
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 1/4 c. light, fruity white wine, such as dry riesling
• Cut-up vegetables for dipping (see Note)
Fill a fondue pot (or small slow cooker) with very hot water and set aside to warm.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until any liquid evaporates, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Combine both cheeses, flour, fennel seeds and cayenne in a medium bowl.
Heat wine in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Add the cheese mixture a handful at a time, stirring until melted before adding more. Remove from heat and stir in the vegetable mixture.
Drain and dry the fondue pot (or slow cooker). Pour in the fondue and keep warm over a low flame (or on the warm setting) to serve. Stir in a teaspoon or two of flour if your fondue starts to separate. Dip your choice of vegetables into the mixture.