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Grilled Rib Eye with Wisconsin Havarti Fondue

by Nicole of Pinch My Salt

When asked to test one of Chef Michael Symon’s new recipes featuring Wisconsin Cheese, it was really hard to choose one. It seems that I love any recipe that includes a nice hunk of cheese on the ingredient list – but when I read about Grilled Rib Eye with Wisconsin Havarti Fondue, I knew I had to make it – steak, cream, horseradish, and cheese? I just couldn’t pass that up!

I was really excited to try a grilling recipe because I recently moved from an apartment that didn’t allow grills to a new place where I am once again allowed to play with fire. Steak was the very first thing I planned to grill at the new place! I was also looking forward to the fondue part of the recipe because I have never made a fondue before. So let’s get started!

The fondue recipe begins with minced shallots and garlic. Although I’m not a huge fan of raw onions or shallots, I absolutely love cooking with them.

The aroma of the shallots and garlic sautéing in olive oil was amazing and since I love vinegar, I thought it smelled even better after adding a splash of white wine vinegar and letting it reduce. My mouth was already watering! The next step was to add four cups of heavy cream. See, it just keeps getting better and better!

I brought the cream and shallot mixture up to a simmer and let it bubble away, stirring occasionally. The cream needed to reduce by half, so this part took a bit of time and patience. Luckily I had a fun ingredient to distract me while I waited for the cream to do its thing.

Hello, horseradish root! Although I’m a huge fan of horseradish, I had never tried grating it fresh. I wasn’t even sure how to go about it. Since it needed to be grated fine, I figured a Microplane grater might work, but it seemed like it might be a very tedious job. After a quick Internet search, I found out that horseradish could be grated using a blender. Problem solved.

The first step was to cut off the dry bits and peel the root. I enlisted the help of a friend for the chopping and peeling and we were both thrilled by the scent of the fresh horseradish. We even chewed on a couple pieces and found it to be delicious, although a bit sharp (as should be expected).

After it was peeled, the root was chopped into cubes and dropped into my high-powered blender. It took a while, and I had to add small amounts of water as I went, but the horseradish grated up nicely. It looked just like prepared, store-bought horseradish, but the flavor was much cleaner. The fumes that came from the blender were pretty intense, so I suggest grating fresh horseradish in a well-ventilated area.

Next, I grated the Wisconsin Havarti. This cheese was beautiful – soft and buttery with a delicate flavor. I thought that I might have a hard time finding Wisconsin Cheese in California, but one trip to Whole Foods was all it took. The first Havarti I picked up turned out to be from Wisconsin! Because the cheese is fairly soft, I grated it using a food processor. I was finished in seconds (although I had to go back and grate a bit more later since I couldn’t keep myself from snacking on the shredded cheese).

Once the cream had reduced by half, I started whisking in the horseradish and cheese. Everything came together beautifully and the fondue was DELICIOUS! I seasoned it to taste with salt and pepper and added the fresh chopped chives just before serving.

I was afraid that it might be a bit too spicy with the suggested one and a half cups of fresh grated horseradish, but it turned out to have the perfect amount of kick!

So have you been wondering about the steaks? Don’t worry – I didn’t forget the meat! Before I chopped the shallots, I took the steaks from the fridge so they could come to room temperature. When the cream started reducing, I prepared my charcoal grill. Then when the coals were ready, I brushed the steaks lightly on each side with olive oil and seasoned them with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. I just wanted a simple seasoning so that nothing would interfere with the flavors of the grilled beef and delicious fondue.

It was so nice to be outside grilling again! I cooked the steaks to about medium then let them rest while finishing up the fondue.

Miraculously, I managed to get everything finished at about the same time. The fondue was finished first, but it kept well over low heat on the stove and I whisked in the chopped chives just before serving. Unfortunately I don’t have a fondue pot, so I just put some of the fondue in individual serving bowls alongside the sliced steak and it seemed to keep warm long enough to enjoy it.

I’m so glad I chose to test this recipe because it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time. It got rave reviews from everyone who tasted it and I would love to make it again to share with more friends and family. Of course, I don’t eat things this indulgent at every meal, but I believe there’s room in every diet for the occasional meal of steak and fondue!

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