How to Fondue the Low Carb Way
In the 1950s, twenty years after it was named a Swiss National Dish, fondue began making its way into North American households. By the 1960s, it was so popular stateside that parties were being thrown around the idea of dipping different types of food into a communal pot of oil or melted cheese or chocolate. Decades later and the word “fondue” has become ubiquitous for any meal where food is dipped into a pot full of boiling liquid.
Despite introducing long-stemmed forks to the North America public, fondue has never ventured too far outside the lines. People are prone to choosing the usual suspects of bread or strawberries or melon to dip. Luckily, we’re here to offer some new ideas to the old concept of fondue. For starters, it can be a low carb meal or treat and you can even get creative by incorporating foods like thinly-sliced charcuterie or freshly baked pastries.
Let’s start by looking at what fondue is and how to best prepare it, including having the right equipment and utensils. Then, we’ll add a low carb twist to some of the more traditional recipes.
Preparing a big pot of fondue is simple and kind of fun. All you need are:
- A ceramic, enamel cast iron or metal fondue pot. You can’t just use any pot so you’ll want to invest in a solid one that can handle the high heat needed to melt cheeses and chocolate.
- A strong heating element. For this, you can choose from several options like candles, gel fuel, liquid fuel and there are also electric heating elements. This chafing dish is safe, effective and can be used with most fondue pots.
Each guest will need these utensils:
- Long-stem forks or skewers for handling and dipping the food. Many fondue kits come with color coded forks so that guests know which one belongs to them.
- Separate plates for cooked and uncooked foods.
- You will want to have napkins handy as it can get a bit messy, especially for novices.
- This is one meal you will want to eat on a tablecloth.
For cheese fondue, the trick to getting the best flavour is to rub a clove of garlic all over the inside of the pot. To get started, heat the fondue pot on a stove. Use shredded cheese and melt it slowly. Next, add wine, beer or champagne to the pot for additional flavour. If you notice that the cheese is separating, add some lemon juice and stir consistently in a figure-eight motion as this will ensure that the ingredients and flavours blend. Another tip is to add apple cider or wine as a thinning mechanism. Don’t forget the crust on the pot. This is a delicacy known as “la croute”, and your guests will thank you for serving it to them.
Lastly, please never leave the pot unattended especially if children are around. It will be incredibly and consistently hot.
Adding a Low Carb Angle
Just because fondue is best when ignoring the caloric intake doesn’t mean you can’t leave the carbs on the cutting board. Choose low carb vegetables and fruits to enjoy fondue guilt-free. For vegetables, consider broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms or bell peppers cut into strips. With respect to fruit, you should try strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon.
If bread is your food of choice, then you have several low carb options to choose from.
Let’s get into the fun stuff…recipes! Here are some of the best low carb fondue recipes around. They are sure to please even the pickiest dinner guest. Our aim is to offer an array of recipes so you can serve different options. This way everyone has a great time and leaves with a full stomach. For cheese fondue, the ideal cheeses are gruyere, cheddar or emmental.
Fondue pots or kits do come with their own instructions. Please review before you start cooking. Those directions should trump any provided here or in a recipe.
This classic French stew gets a fun and elegant fondue makeover. You can make it with any meat but we recommend beef and deveined shrimp to go along with vegetables like carrots for sweetness.
Prepare the raw meat by removing the fat and cutting into bite sized cubes. Cut the shrimp into small pieces so that it can cook thoroughly. Wash the vegetables then chop and give them a quick blanching so that they are tender. Add some lemon juice so they don’t brown before being cooked in the fondue pot.
Arrange three platters: one for beef, one for shrimp and one for vegetables. This will prevent cross-contamination. Refrigerate the prepared food until they are ready to be cooked. Before serving, dry the food with paper towel to prevent the oil from splattering.
You can use any brand of peanut, vegetable, canola or olive oil. Truly, it’s whatever flavour you prefer. Preheat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit on the stove in the fondue pot. The last thing you want to do is transfer hot oil from one pot to another—this is very dangerous so don’t even attempt it. Test the oil with a small piece of bread. If the bread turns brown within 30 seconds, then you are good to go. Take the pot off the stove and place it on the holder above the burner where you are serving. Turn on the burner and you are good to go.
Vegetables, or crudités, are a perfect pairing with cheese fondue. Most use raw vegetable but a great tip is to steam the vegetables beforehand. Try a combination of broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, mushrooms, green beans or carrots.
If you want a funky fondue desert, try jalapeno peppers. They had a spicy touch and hot peppers go wonderfully with melted chocolate. For guests who don’t love spicy food, don’t worry, the chocolate tempers the jalapenos sting. For guests who really can’t take the heat, all you must do is remove the seeds from the peppers. This will reduce or eliminate all traces of heat.
Why not try some artisan meats instead of beef chuck or pork cubes? Choose a variety of cured meats like chorizo, prosciutto and soppressata. When dipped into gruyere they add an intriguing and succulent flavour.
Since these meats are sliced, you must wrap them around the fork or a thick skewer to dip. You can also use cooked bacon for a crispy, salty and smoky delight. The cool thing about bacon is that it doubles as a utensil.
Throw a Fondue Party Tonight!
Now you have some wonderful recipes and useful tips to throw a successful fondue party. All you need are some guests to partake in the fun.
Get creative and don’t be scared to offer an assortment of foods for them to dip with pleasure. Be sure to let everyone know that the evening’s theme is low carb because that will help them leave their inhibitions at the door. Fondue isn’t meant to be eaten delicately. It’s designed to be devoured and savoured.
Browse the virtual shelves of our grocery store to get all the ingredients you need to host the fondue party of the year.