Serves: Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 1 loaf whole wheat italian or french bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 cup coarsely chopped (1⁄4-inch pieces) broccoli florets, (optional)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 large clove garlic, halved lengthwise
- 1 cup pinot grigio or other dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon grappa or brandy
- 1 pound fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, rind removed and coarsely shredded (about 8 cups)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil. Use tongs or your hands to toss the bread, coating it with the oil and adding a little more oil if the cubes aren't evenly coated. Spread the bread on a large rimmed sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. remove from the oven and let cool.
- heat to a boil a 2- or 3-quart saucepan half filled with water. Add the broccoli and salt and boil for 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Rub the inside of a flameproof ceramic fondue pot with the cut sides of the garlic. Discard the garlic, or reserve for another use. Add the wine to the fondue pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Check the manufacturer's instructions to see if a heat diffuser is necessary.) Add the grappa.
- In a large bowl, combine the cheese and flour and toss to combine. Gradually add the cheese, a handful at a time, to the simmering wine, stirring vigorously with a slotted metal or wooden spoon after each addition until melted before adding more cheese. Fold the broccoli and red pepper into the melted cheese until blended.
- Put the bread cubes on a platter or in a basket and place on the table. Place the tabletop heater in the center of the table and place the fondue pot on top. Provide each diner with a fondue fork for spearing the bread cubes and dipping into the communal pot.