What Is Fontina Cheese, And What Are The Best Ways To Use It?
The nutty and creamy flavor of the fontina easily makes it one of the best cheeses in the world. But what is fontina cheese? Fontina is a cow's milk cheese that is rich in butterfat content. It originates from Italy’s Aosta Valley, which is why it is locally called Fontina Val d’Aosta
It also has a slightly spicy flavor and it melts quickly. It is an excellent cheese to use on top as it combines just right with other ingredients.
Basics On Handling Fontina Cheese
First of all, remember to keep your fontina cheese refrigerated. Properly protect the sliced fontina cheese protected with aluminum foil tight plastic wrap. By keeping it this way, the cheese will last up to five months. It will age naturally, which means the more pungent it will become later on.
Fontina is best used to complement mozzarella on your pizza. Its tangy flavor and smooth texture also make it an excellent topping for gratin. It is also best for sauces, pasta, chowders, and soups since it melts quickly.
If you are planning to make the usual grilled cheese sandwich, it would be great to try and substitute the fontina cheese for the traditional American or Cheddar cheese. To make your sandwich unique, try heating Granny Smith apple slices and croissant with ham with your fontina cheese.
You can even add the fontina cheese on simple dishes like macaroni and baked potatoes to make your daily meals extra special.
Chive And Fontina Frittata
The Chive and Fontina Frittata is a lovely breakfast dish that you can try out with your fontina cheese.
For This Recipe, You’ll Need
- 3 ounces of shredded Fontina cheese.
- 2 teaspoons of butter or Smart Balance spread
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives
- 1 diced medium tomato
- 1 quarter teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup of low-fat milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup of egg substitute.
How To Make:
- Step 1:
You have to preheat your oven to 375 °F. Get a medium bowl and mix the eggs, salt, pepper, and milk in it using a fork or a wire whisk. After that, add the chopped chives and tomato and stir them with the other ingredients in the bowl.
- Step 2:
You need to have a non-stick skillet that is about 10-inches in diameter. Make sure it has an oven-safe handle, or you can just wrap the handle with something to keep your hands safe like a heavy-duty foil. After that, melt your butter using only medium heat.
- Step 3:
Pour in the egg mixture you made in the medium bowl to the skillet. Sprinkle some fontina cheese on top of your mixture. Then, cook it for about three to four minutes until you notice the frittata settling around your skillet’s edges.
You have to place the skillet in the oven and bake it up to 10 minutes. You will also know if it is ready without being so concerned with time by checking if the frittata has started to set. When that happens, try to insert a knife in the center and see if it comes out clean. If it does, then you have yourself a Chive and Fontina Frittata, which is good for four people.
Zucchini, Potato, and Fontina Pizzettas
For This Recipe, You’ll Need
- 1 1/2 cup of grated fontina cheese, flaky sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper.
- 1 medium very thin sliced zucchini.
- 1 very thin sliced red onion.
- 2 small red waxy thin sliced potatoes.
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour.
- 1 1/4 envelope active dry yeast.
How To Make
- Step 1:
In a large bowl, put three tablespoons of warm water and whisk some sugar and yeast. Let is sit for five minutes until the surface becomes foamy. After that, put one and a quarter cups of room-temperature water and a cup of flour. Mix them until they become smooth as pancake batter.
- Step 2:
Add two and a half cups of flour and two tablespoons of kosher salt. Mix them up using a wooden spoon until it turns into a shaggy dough form. Put that dough on a lightly floured surface then knead it using your hands. Add more flour if it starts to stick on the surface. Keep doing this for five to ten minutes until the dough is supple and smooth.
- Step 3:
Put it in a large oiled bowl and use a plastic wrap to cover it. Then, leave it in a warm and draft-free spot for about one and a half hours as it rises and doubles in size. Divide it into four equal pieces and roll them into balls.
Put those balls on an oiled rimmed baking sheet and use a plastic wrap to cover them up. Again, leave them in a warm and draft-free spot for about 50 minutes until they double in size
While waiting for it to increase in size, put potato slices in your colander, then use cold water to rinse it. Use kosher salt to drain the season and toss it occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes until it softens up. Transfer it to a bowl, add onion, zucchini and two tablespoons of oil and toss them into a mix. After that, set it aside for a while.
- Step 4:
You have to preheat your oven to 450 °F. Roll out each ball of dough into 10” rounds on lightly floured surface. Work with one ball at a time while the rest remain covered.
Heat a large skillet over medium fire. Pour a tablespoon of oil into it and cook the dough for about a minute until its bottom turns golden brown and its top looks dry. Flip it around and cook it for about a minute until its bottom becomes slightly golden.
Put it on a rimmed baking sheet and do it again with the three tablespoons of oil and dough that remains. You can fit about two pizzettas for each baking sheet if you slightly overlap them.
- Step 5:
Put fontina cheese and your reserved potato mixtures on top of your pizzettas and sprinkle some kosher salt over it. Then bake it on rotating baking sheets top to bottom and back to front for about 10 to 15 minutes until crust becomes crisp and golden brown with the cheese bubbling.
Take the pizzettas out from the oven, and season it with pepper and sea salt.
Drizzle it with an ample amount of oil
Other Fontina Cheese Recipe
You can also try the Chicken with Cheese, Prosciutto and roasted courgettes. Another great fontina cheese recipe is the Slow-cooked family stew with polenta. The pizzoccheri and the fresh linguine with crab and mussels are also delicious fontina cheese recipes.
Why Use Fontina Cheese?
As you learn what fontina cheese is you’d see that it is easy to use for various recipes, especially with its quick melt characteristics. This Italian cow’s milk cheese has a firm and springy texture, which goes along quite well with particular ingredients.
Its delicate flavor also makes it an amazing dessert cheese. When the fontina cheese fully matures, you can grate it and use it like parmesan.
I know there are countless other recipes for this cheese, but what do you think of the recipes above? What other recipes do you want to prepare with your fontina cheese? Do you think you can add fontina cheese to your recipes like a pro? Let us know in the comments below.