Baked Fontina with Caramelized Onions and Fig Jam

In 1982 my husband and I joined a weekly wine-tasting group. The wine expert was pretty full of himself, but he always put out nice hors d’oeuvres before the tasting. And that is when I first discovered Fontina. It quickly became my go-to cheese. Buttery, nutty, and perfect to serve with crackers, charcuterie, and fruit. But, I never melted it.

The cheeses I have served melted have mostly been Brie and Camembert, often in a crust, served as luscious hors d’oeuvres. Baked Provolone and Panela are more recent, melty cheese discoveries of mine.

I found this baked fontina recipe by Marissa Mullen on Food 52. “Get ready for the most decadent, cheesy snack ever to be invited to a holiday party. Savory caramelized onions come together with sweet fig jam, to contrast the cheesiness—your friends and family will love this one so much, you might have to make two.”

Marissa Mullen is a Brooklyn-based food stylist, recipe developer, photographer and cheese lover. She is the founder of That Cheese Plate and creator of the Cheese By Numbers method. She is also the author of the best-selling cookbook, That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life, a step-by-step styling guide for crafting beautiful and delicious cheese plates as a form of creative expression.

It’s still cold out where I live, and even though this recipe would be perfect for fall or during the holidays, It’s also perfect now.

Baked Fontina with Caramelized Onions and Fig Jam

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (only 2 are necessary)
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
12 ounces fontina, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 16 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, plus more for garnish
2 ounces fig jam
1 baguette, or another loaf of crusty bread, for serving

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the onions, toss, and let cook for 10 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and cook for an additional 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes and adjusting the heat to avoid burning, until caramelized. Remove from the heat.

I forgot the caramelized onion photo, but I also added some sweet paprika.

When the onions are finished, place a rack in the upper third of the oven (about 5 inches from the heat) and heat the broiler to high. Place the fontina in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, thyme, and rosemary. (I only drizzled 1 tablespoon of oil on top; the fontina lets off a lot of fat by itself.)

Broil for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned. I actually chickened out after a couple of minutes. I didn’t want burnt garlic and herbs, so I lowered the oven to 350 degrees and waited until the fontina was completely melted.

Remove from the oven and top with the caramelized onions, a dollop of fig jam, and additional rosemary and thyme to garnish.

Serve immediately with crusty bread, or in my case, grilled bread.

Well wow. What a fabulous recipe for baked cheese.

The onions really work well, and of course the fig jam is perfect.

By Published On: March 21st, 202262 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

62 Comments

  1. Travel Gourmet March 21, 2022 at 6:08 AM - Reply

    Oh wow! That’s fabulous Mimi :)

    • Chef Mimi March 21, 2022 at 9:33 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Kay!

  2. popsiclesociety March 21, 2022 at 7:26 AM - Reply

    Wow! This is absolutely mouthwatering! I love fontina cheese 🧀 it’s so creamy 😋

    • Chef Mimi March 21, 2022 at 9:33 AM - Reply

      And wow is it good warmed!

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen March 21, 2022 at 8:07 AM - Reply

    This looks amazing Mimi! It hits all the notes, doesn’t it? Sweet, melty, savory, salty, herbaceous, and served on beautiful crusty bread! You do need to make two!

    • Chef Mimi March 21, 2022 at 9:32 AM - Reply

      I’ll be making it again, that’s for sure. And I typically make things once, cause there’s so much to try!

  4. thatskinnychickcanbake March 21, 2022 at 8:48 AM - Reply

    Woah!! I love Fontina, too, and this is a delicious alternative to the baked brie I turn to for entertaining!

    • Chef Mimi March 21, 2022 at 9:32 AM - Reply

      It is! I’d never melted or warmed it before. And the recipe is crazy good.

  5. Jovina Coughlin March 21, 2022 at 8:52 AM - Reply

    Delicious appetizer

    • Chef Mimi April 2, 2022 at 4:44 PM - Reply

      Oh, it was!!!

  6. neil@neilshealthymeals.com March 21, 2022 at 9:12 AM - Reply

    This looks mouthwatering Mimi. I’ve never had fontina cheese as far as I can remember but I’ll certainly be on the look out for it in the future. We’ve a few specialist cheese shops here in Glasgow that might stock it.

    • Chef Mimi March 21, 2022 at 9:31 AM - Reply

      Oh, it’s good! from the d’aosta region of Italy in the Alps. Hope you can find it!

  7. Greg Henry March 21, 2022 at 11:42 AM - Reply

    Yes the fig jam is perfect. As is this entire bowlful. GREG

    • Chef Mimi March 21, 2022 at 12:20 PM - Reply

      The onions were wonderful as well. A little messy, but really good. I’d just chop them next time!

  8. Alex March 21, 2022 at 3:08 PM - Reply

    Mimi, this looks great and I already get really good cheeses. I’ll try it soon :-)

    • Chef Mimi March 21, 2022 at 5:53 PM - Reply

      Oh, you’re very lucky! You’ll enjoy this recipe.

  9. Hannah Kaminsky March 21, 2022 at 7:36 PM - Reply

    Sounds like you’re all set to start your own wine tasting group now! What a treat!

    • Chef Mimi March 22, 2022 at 8:55 AM - Reply

      I kinda have one! Do you miss cheese?

      • Hannah March 22, 2022 at 9:44 AM

        Honestly, I don’t anymore. I was a huge cheese eater and struggled at first, but now there are so many amazing alternatives, I can have pretty much anything I want made from plants instead.

      • Chef Mimi March 23, 2022 at 5:43 PM

        I was more creative with substitutes of everything when my husband was a vegetarian, but this was a long time ago. Probably they are all way better these days!

  10. Debra March 21, 2022 at 10:19 PM - Reply

    I can hardly wait to give this a try! I won’t make it until I have an occasion because I’m likely to eat the whole thing myself unless I have a reason to share it!

    • Chef Mimi March 22, 2022 at 8:54 AM - Reply

      I completely understand!

  11. Sherry M March 22, 2022 at 5:53 AM - Reply

    oh wow mimi. this looks so divine and i’m not even much of a cheese eater! i have had baked brie and that was pretty amazing. yours looks soooo good.

    • Chef Mimi March 22, 2022 at 8:54 AM - Reply

      Thanks! It was pretty wonderful! I’d love to know what you do eat!!!

  12. Frank Fariello March 22, 2022 at 6:41 AM - Reply

    Now doesn’t this sound good? Hard to beat melted cheese in whatever form, but this combination of flavors sounds particularly luscious. Fontina might just be the ultimate melting cheese, imho.

  13. Eva Taylor March 22, 2022 at 8:01 AM - Reply

    Wow, that is dazzling! We’re coming up to patio season and I’m always on the lookout for warm hors d’œuvres particularly on the nippy spring evenings and this one totally fits the bill.

    • Chef Mimi March 22, 2022 at 8:53 AM - Reply

      It’s really fantastic! I would finely chop the onions. The rings get a bit messy!

  14. Kiki March 22, 2022 at 8:23 AM - Reply

    Looks amazing and no doubt tastes amazing too 😍

    • Chef Mimi March 22, 2022 at 8:33 AM - Reply

      It was so enjoyable!

  15. Healthy World Cuisine March 22, 2022 at 8:31 AM - Reply

    This is a fantastic dish for entertaining. Super easy and ohhh the amazing cheese pulls.

    • Chef Mimi March 22, 2022 at 8:33 AM - Reply

      It’s just really good!!!

  16. David Scott Allen March 22, 2022 at 8:59 AM - Reply

    This sounds fabulous. I agree that fontina is a wonderful cheese, especially if you can get the stuff from Italy (which you did – so lucky!).

    • Chef Mimi March 23, 2022 at 5:44 PM - Reply

      I can’t handle fake, pasteurized cheese, so I usually order it online.

  17. Velva March 22, 2022 at 12:55 PM - Reply

    OMG, besides being a beautiful appetizer….this would be an excellent wine pairing. We have a Women who Wine group that meets each month. This would be a fantastic appetizer. Thanks for sharing!

    Velva

    • Chef Mimi March 23, 2022 at 5:42 PM - Reply

      Oh fun! I bet that’s a fun group!

  18. angela March 23, 2022 at 1:01 AM - Reply

    Oh my goodness that looks good! I love everything in this.

    • Chef Mimi March 23, 2022 at 5:42 PM - Reply

      You have very good taste!

  19. David @ Spiced March 23, 2022 at 5:38 AM - Reply

    It’s still chilly here, too, and this looks like the kind of warm comfort food that I could really curl up and spend some quality time with. I do love Fontina, and this is a good reminder that I should use it more often! The combination of flavors here is fantastic, and those photos are mouthwatering, Mimi!!

    • Chef Mimi March 23, 2022 at 5:41 PM - Reply

      Thank you! Sometimes I’m a little more patient…. Food photography is just not my thing, but I keep after it! Hope you get a chance to make this.

  20. terrie gura March 23, 2022 at 7:38 AM - Reply

    Mmm, this and a glass of wine. I’m good. :)

    • Chef Mimi March 23, 2022 at 5:40 PM - Reply

      Exactly

  21. kitchenriffs March 23, 2022 at 9:40 AM - Reply

    What a great idea! Fontina is so nice for melting, too. Neat combo of flavors, too. Thanks!

    • Chef Mimi March 23, 2022 at 5:40 PM - Reply

      You’re welcome! Hope you get a chance to try it.

  22. cookingwithauntjuju.com March 23, 2022 at 4:46 PM - Reply

    I posted a baked fontina recipe but just with cheese and herbs. You have kicked it up a couple of notches with caramelized onions and fig jam. Yum! I noticed you have to eat it right away as the cheese thickens and is hard to dip.

    • Chef Mimi March 23, 2022 at 5:40 PM - Reply

      Cheese and herbs sound wonderful. I’ll have to go look for it. Yes, fontina hardens faster than brie or Camembert I’ve noticed.

  23. Ann Coleman March 23, 2022 at 8:33 PM - Reply

    I know I say this often, but it’s true of most of your posts: that looks simply delicious! Wish you were my next-door neighbor……..

    • Chef Mimi March 24, 2022 at 9:16 AM - Reply

      Aww, you’re really sweet. Thank you!

  24. Carrie Tyler March 24, 2022 at 10:38 AM - Reply

    OMG, Mimi! I’m in love with this one! The ooey, gooey cheese and sweet and savory combo is divine! I’m adding this to my weekend menu :)

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 7:47 AM - Reply

      Divine certainly sums this up! Perfection.

  25. Valentina March 24, 2022 at 3:37 PM - Reply

    Mimi, I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped when I first saw the top image on this post. SO mouth-watering. Can’t wait to try this one. :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 7:46 AM - Reply

      If you do, I recommend just finely chopping the onions. The rings were pretty but got a bit messy.

  26. Raymund March 24, 2022 at 5:41 PM - Reply

    OMG Mimi, these are to die for! I am scrapping my cheeseboard tonight in replacement for this

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 7:46 AM - Reply

      It was very very good. A real standout.

  27. 2pots2cook March 25, 2022 at 3:30 AM - Reply

    This looks sooo delicious! Funny, when mentioning wine expert full of himself: I have several experiences of that kind. It made me fall in love with beers! :-)

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 7:45 AM - Reply

      Ha! That’s too funny! Well I still like wines but we’re our own tasters!

  28. Vicky March 25, 2022 at 5:56 AM - Reply

    This is so yummy. Perfect recipe. Must try this baked Fontina cheese. The caramelized onions and fig jam is a finishing touch of genius.. Thanks

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 7:45 AM - Reply

      Just a perfect recipe in my book. All of th flavor were fabulous!

  29. Ben | Havocinthekitchen March 29, 2022 at 12:13 PM - Reply

    This looks and sounds simply terrific! I love cheese and cheese appetizers, particularly baked. I am a huge fan of caramelized onions. And I happen to love fig jam and sweet and salty pairings. That being said, this dish is right up my alley!

    • Chef Mimi March 29, 2022 at 1:36 PM - Reply

      The combo was amazing. I didn’t like the onions rings – a bit messy – but that didn’t affect the flavors!

  30. Thao @ In Good Flavor March 30, 2022 at 1:00 PM - Reply

    This looks amazing!! I need to try this because everyone in my family will love it!!

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2022 at 1:23 PM - Reply

      I know what you mean! Who doesn’t love warm cheese?!

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