Betty Rosbottom, cookbook author, taught us how to make an easy “fondue” appetizer with Camembert cheese.
One 8-ounce (250 gram) Camembert in a wooden box, preferably at room temperature for 30 minutes (See note.)
2 tsp finely minced garlic
4 tsp dry white wine
8 oz (6 small) red skin potatoes, scrubbed, but not peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 oz kielbasa, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/2 good quality fresh crusty baguette, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup cornichons
1. Arrange a rack at center position and another at the lower position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Remove the Camembert from its box and discard the paper enclosing it and any labels on the cheese. Save the bottom of the box, but discard the lid. With a sharp knife, cut the rind from the top of the cheese and discard. With the same knife, cut a cross pattern on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the garlic over the cheese and press down with your fingers. Then drizzle the wine over the cheese. Return cheese, garlic side up, to the box and place on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Quarter the potatoes and spread them in a small baking dish or pan. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Place the cheese on the center rack and the potatoes on the bottom one. Bake the cheese until it has melted and is very soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Watch carefully, and remove when done. Roast potatoes until golden and tender when pierced with a knife, 25 minutes or more, and remove when done.
5. While cheese is baking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the kielbasa slices 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned and drain on paper towels.
6. To serve, using a metal spatula, slide the cheese in its box onto a serving platter or board. Garnish the Camembert “fondue” with baguette cubes, roasted potatoes, kielbasa slices, and a small bowl of cornichons. Spear bread, potatoes, and kielbasa with wooden skewers and dip into the warm cheese. Sample the peppery cornichons on the side. Serves 4 to 6.
Note: Cheese and specialty food stores and some supermarkets (such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s) sell Camembert cheese packaged in a wooden box.