0 hours 5 mins
0 hours 25 mins
0 hours 30 mins
8 Oz. Fontina cheese
6 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
3 Garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 Small shallot, sliced
2 Tbsp. Fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 Tsp. Dried Herbs de Provence
1 Tbsp. Patricia and Paul Lavender Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Patricia and Paul Herbs de Provence Olive Oil
Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Baguette, sliced and toasted.
2) In each of two small cast iron skillets or mini casserole dishes, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil, half the chopped garlic and half the sliced shallots. Add half the cherry tomatoes into each skillet and place in the oven for 10 minutes to let the veggies cook and soften in the oil.
3) Meanwhile, cut your bread and toast under the broiler.
4) Remove the skillets from the oven and add half the cheese into each one. Top each with half the fresh herbs, half the herbs de provence, half of the balsamic vinegar and another 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil. Sprinkle both with salt and pepper and place back in the oven for 20 minutes.
5) When the cheese mixture is bubbling and the cheese is melted and flavored with all the herbs and spices, it is ready to serve with the toasted baguette slices. Enjoy!
NOTES: Oh, you are going to love this herbs and lavendar fontina dip! There isn’t anything better than an ooey-gooey skillet of cheese and this one is packed with flavor from the artisanal olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The mix of fresh and dried herbs and fresh aromatics and tomatoes, make this a favorite around here.
How to cut your shallots? Most shallots have two halves. You will use one half of a small shallot and slice it thin. You’ll want to smash and then mince your garlic very fine. Add the shallots, garlic, half the herbes de provence olive oil and tomatoes to the skillets and cook in the oven for 10 minutes allowing the veggies to get super soft in the olive oil. You are basically creating a cherry tomato confit that you can then add the cheese and herbs to.
In this dish, I’ve use fontina cheese which melts beautifully. A good substitute for fontina cheese might be Gruyere, feta or goat cheese. If you like strong flavored cheese, a soft blue cheese like Cambozola would be great. Fontina substitutes should be cheeses that melt well and can be spread on toast so use your favorite.
When you remove the skillets after 10 minutes, the oil will be bubbling hot, the veggies will be fragrant and it is time to add the diced cheese, parsley, basil and herbs de provence. Drizzle the balsamic over the mix and add the remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake another 20 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and all the flavors to meld together.
A good herbs de provence substitute is a mix of dried herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram, tarragon, chervil and/or lavender. If you don’t have herbs de provence substitute a mix of the dried herbs you have on hand and this dish will be great.
The same goes for the artisanal olive oil and balsamic vinegars I used in this recipe. I play with flavors all the time but if you only have regular olive oil and balsamic vinegar, go ahead and use those. They will be just fine in this dish.
You will remove the skillets from the oven and serve with the toasted baguettes. Schmear the cheese and veggie mix on the toasts and enjoy. This is delicious served with a glass of wine.
If you are looking to purchase the specialty olive oil and balsamic vinegar, you can buy them in my shop.
If you like this cheese appetizer, I have a couple of other recipes to recommend: