Tribune Content Agency

Cheese Fondue with Fennel & Tomatoes

Serves 12

Serving Size: 1/3 cup fondue

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Equipment: Fondue pot or small slow cooker

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups diced fennel

1 cup diced onion

1 (14-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained well

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

10 ounces Emmentaler or Swiss cheese, shredded (3 1/2 cups)

6 ounces Comte or Gruyere cheese, shredded (2 cups)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, gently crushed

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups light, fruity white wine, such as dry riesling

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.

The alpine cheeses in this recipe are known for melting smoothly, which is key in a fondue. Adding vegetables brings texture and bonus nutrition, while complementing the buttery nuttiness of each cheese. To serve 12, plan to 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.