If you don’t announce the name of this fondue, most people will be hard-pressed to identify the main ingredient as cauliflower. Serve this creamy cauliflower fondue with cubes of crusty whole-grain bread and an assortment of oven-roasted vegetables, like tiny red-skinned new potatoes, baby carrots, large squares of red bell pepper, and zucchini chunks.–Peggy Fallon
Cauliflower Asiago Cheese Fondue
- 1 head of cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch florets
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
- In a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower florets, cover, and cook until the florets are very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- In a food processor or blender, combine half of the cauliflower and half of the cream. Pulse until the cauliflower is finely chopped. Repeat, adding the remaining florets and cream to the chopped cauliflower and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the butter, lemon juice, salt, and smoked paprika, and puree until smooth. Add the cheese and blend well.
- Return the cauliflower fondue to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a fondue pot, preferably enameled cast iron, and serve at once. Regulate the heat under the pot, if possible, so that the fondue remains warm, not hot.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This dish almost didn’t make it to the fondue pot. Once I tasted it, I had to keep on tasting just a little more, and then again. I could have eaten the whole fondue and called it dinner. The smoky flavor of the paprika perfectly complements the cauliflower and cheese. The flavors are rich, but because the base is cauliflower, it’s not heavy in the least. A true winner of a recipe.
The author was right; the fondue didn’t taste like cauliflower. Instead, there was a pleasant seafood taste. This is my Testers’ Choice because the recipe uses a minimal amount of the right ingredients to convey an entirely new taste and that is not easy to pull off.
This was a treat for everyone that tried it and, while not a particularly healthy way to eat your vegetables, it’s probably worth the occasional splurge. This fondue might be a fun way to introduce some cooked cauliflower into a kid’s diet.
Have you ever looked at a recipe and thought, “That can’t be very good?” That’s what I thought when I looked at this recipe. And my next thought was, “I’ve gotta try it!” Recipes like this appeal to me precisely because they present a new way of doing something—a way I wouldn’t have come up with on my own. Sometimes I find my initial reaction to the recipe was right on target, but sometimes I get a pleasant surprise and learn something new.
This recipe falls into the latter category. What a surprise! The ingredients in this recipe melded into a wonderful concoction that was a whole new taste. The smoked paprika is what propelled it over the top. The flavor married so well with the cauliflower and cheese. And this recipe is a snap to prepare. What can be better than that? I have a hunch that this would also make a great soup, thinned with a little chicken stock.
One word of warning: The recipe says it will feed 10 to 12 as an appetizer. No way. It is so good, you could polish off the whole pot standing over the stove. For people with more self-control, it would make a good appetizer for 4 to 6.
This has all the earmarks of a great recipe: It’s simple, delicious, and, best of all, has everyone begging for the recipe so that they can make it themselves. I was asked to bring something to a potluck fondue party, and this recipe spoke to me. People were skeptical when told what it was, but, man, they couldn’t have licked that pot any cleaner! Not a problem to keep the fondue warm–it didn’t last long enough to cool down (and I doubled it!). As for what was dipped, I brought along little steamed potatoes, Granny Smith apples (especially yummy!), and some crusty bread–but that ran out, so everything within reach got dipped.
Originally published September 01, 2009