Ever had oil fondue? If you haven’t, you really should.
And last night – for the first time in this home – we did. What a fun meal we had!
My mom used to make three kinds of fondue when my sister and I were kids. Cheese (or cheese and crab), chocolate, and oil. The oil fondue – oil is heated and then you cook pieces of meat in it and have a selection of sauces to dip the cooked meat in when you’re done – was really cool because we were actually cooking at the table. Such a novelty!
I assume the reason I’ve never made this before is because of the whole fire-and-hot-oil-at-the-table aspect. But now I figured the kids were old enough to behave themselves around the flammable cooking vessel. And, for the most part, they were.
Here’s what we used:
5 hot dogs, each cut into five pieces
About 12 oz shrimp – ours were, I think, the 35-40 size. You want smallish but not tiny shrimp.
Sliced beef, cut into small, thin pieces.
Sliced chicken tenderloin (you could use thigh meat, too), cut into bite-sized pieces
Sterno, for beneath the oil.
You could also try pieces of sausage…bacon (!!), little meatballs, scallops, and Alex suggested duck, which sounds phenomenal.
And I served 8 little dipping sauces…
Sweet/Hot Eggroll sauce
A Raspberry-Chipotle marinade
Thai Plum something-or-other dipping sauce (another sweet/hot mixture)
A green Thai curry cube melted, warmed, and mixed with some really good coconut milk
Caramelized onions and mushrooms with a splash of white wine and then pureed with some yogurt and a pinch of salt
There were plenty of other things we could have used, too – Sriracha, A-1 sauce, Worcestershire sauce, truffle oil, a blend of ketchup and mayo (our favorite when we were kids)…really, you can just use whatever you think would be fun. And yummy.
I also made popcorn. I was going to make rice but I forgot to get it started, so I went with something faster.
Popcorn gave us something to munch on while the various meats cooked.
The thing I thought about while we sat and waited for our little bites to cook in the oil (you want it at about 350 F at least), was that this is the sort of meal that you can’t rush.
You sit, and talk, and eat, and wait, and talk, and cook, and eat some more. It’s a lovely way to spend time with your family.
And the kids loved that they got to cook their own food. We’ll definitely have to do this more often, and with different ingredients. And with vegetables! We ran down a list of possible vegetables to try out in the oil. I was even thinking we could do a tempura fondue meal…dip our vegetables or meats in tempura batter first…though tempura puffs up somewhat….maybe we’ll need a second fondue pot!
Anyway, that was dinner last night. Oil fondue. A great way for the whole family to make dinner together!