This one’s for all the foodies who have ever asked, “Is it socially acceptable to consume mounds of melted cheese and nothing more?” It’s time to fess up; many of us desire to do just that. The good news is, you finally can.
You see, the trick is to be crafty about it. If you melt down a hunk of cheddar and stuff your face into it, you’ll probably get some judgmental looks and sideways glances. However, if you melt together Fontina with olive oil, garlic, and an array of fresh, flavorful herbs, then you’ve got yourself a dip, and dip is 100% accepted by society (…unless it has people it. As Johnny Depp so eloquently points out in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, cannibalism is “frowned upon in most societies”).
This Baked Fontina Dip is delightfully deceiving. It tastes and looks like some fancy fondue, when in all actuality, it’s three simple ingredients melted into cheesy bliss. It doesn’t get much easier than this, nor does it get more indulgent. A dip that’s practically pure cheese is the ultimate way to feed your soul. All you need is a good hunk of bread, and you’re ready to go to town.
If ooey, gooey, melty* cheese sounds good to you, then you can’t pass up this delicious dip. It has tons of flavor from the fresh herbs and garlic, mimicking fondues and dips from the fanciest of Italian restaurants. The best part is, you don’t have to go out to a fancy Italian restaurant to eat it. You don’t even have to exert a significant amount of effort; just pop it in the oven and bake, then get ready to start dipping.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- I’m going to be honest: you must keep this dip warm in order for it to remain dippable.* When it starts to cool, it immediately begins to re-solidify, like most fondues do. I recommend serving it in a fondue pot or some other heated serving dish. If you don’t have either of these things, then eat fast!
- I adore sourdough bread for dipping in this. You could also do Italian bread or veggies. I don’t recommend crackers or chips though because they won’t hold up to the dip.
- If you aren’t into the herbs I used, basil or parsley would be delicious substitutions.
- This makes A LOT of dip, so I cut it in half for you. Trust me, you’ll be glad. Unless you’re feeding an army, you don’t need all that cheese!
- Got leftovers? Make it into a grilled cheese!
- 3/4 lb Italian fontina, rind removed and cubed into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Adjust top rack of the oven so that it sits about 5 inches under the broiler unit. Preheat broiler.
- Spread cheese out in the bottom of a cast iron pan or casserole dish. Drizzle olive oil over the cheese. Mix together the garlic and herbs in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of the cheese.
- Bake for 6 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and melted through. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and set it on a heatproof surface – the pan will be hot! Serve immediately with bread for dipping.
*Melty – (adj) Melted; a term often used to describe foods that are ooey gooey.
*Dippable – (adj) Having the ideal texture for dipping.