A good friend of mine in my high school years used to have a favorite snack. Actually, I shouldn’t say “used to” because he probably still does it.
Basically, he would put a block of cheddar on a plate, microwave it, and then eat it with a fork.
This is kind of the grown up version of that. It just might be my new favorite cheese dip!
1) Finely chop onions, garlic, pepper, and sun-dried tomato.
2) In a medium cast iron skillet, add olive oil over medium-high heat. Then add onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes until soft.
3) Add in garlic and oregano and a pinch of salt. Cook for another minute being careful not to burn garlic.
4) Remove salsa and set aside until later.
5) Add beer to cast iron skillet and use liquid to scrap up any bits on pan.
6) Toss grated cheese with flour and add to skillet. Stir to combine. The cheese should quickly melt.
7) Transfer dish to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees until cheese is bubbly and starting to crisp slightly around the edges.
8) Top baked cheese with salsa and serve immediately.
Any leftovers (yea right) can be reheated in the oven.
A lot of fundido recipes involve chorizo or some sort of sausage, but I think the recipe works just fine without the meat. I do like to use pretty spicy peppers though (with seeds) and sun-dried tomatoes to give the small bit of salsa some real flavor.
To make the salsa, just dice up all the ingredients pretty finely. You don’t want any huge chunks.
This dip was made for a cast iron skillet since you cook it on the stove top, but then transfer it to the oven.
Start by adding some oil to your cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Then add the onions, peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook these for a few minutes until they soften and then add the garlic and oregano.
Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add a pinch of salt and your quick cooked salsa is done!
You can use a bunch of different cheeses for this dish, but obviously it’s important that they melt well. For my money, it’s hard to beat a combination of cheddar and pepper jack cheese.
Toss the grated cheese with a small pinch of flour which just helps the baked dip thicken a bit.
Making the Dip
Once your salsa is done, scoop it out of the pan and then pour in some lager beer. Any beer will do but maybe stay away from the super-cheap stuff.
The beer will pick up all the flavors from the pan and also give you some liquid.
Once your beer is in the pan, go ahead and add your cheese.
Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure this was going to work and was pretty nervous about this step, but it worked great so just go with it.
Stir the cheese and beer together over the stove until the cheese melts. Because cast iron retains heat so well, this will take all of 30 seconds.
Then transfer the pan to a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. This baking time does wonders for the dip. It thickens it, intensifies the flavors, and the edges get a bit crispy which is very delicious.
Once the dip comes out of the oven, top it with the salsa and serve it immediately!
Good hearty tortilla chips are a must for this dish.
Not that you’ll have leftovers, but if you do (or if the dip just cools down), you can easily reheat it in the oven for a few minutes to re-melt the cheese.
Maybe it was my intense craving of Tex-Mex after our return from Peru, but I completely devoured this dip and could have it again today!