February 7, 2011 • Category: Main Dish
Catherine was a French/Swiss/German mom I met years ago at my kids’school. We would get together for various family outings. She was a Phd in the engineering field and worked in industrial research. One day, she called and was full of excitement: ” I just got a raclette sent to me from back home!”. I had no clue what a raclette was, but figured if she was beside herself with joy, it must be good.
Catherine insisted we needed to come to her house and eat some raclette.
So, we got together the following Saturday, and I finally saw what the raclette was. Raclette is a cheese but also the name for the actual dish. A special raclette pan is set in the middle of the table and each person picks, say, a potato or a slice of ham or chicken or fruit, places the cheese on top and heats it on that raclette dish. When the cheese melts, then it is ready and after eating that piece, on to the next one.
In the olden days, raclette was prepared inside the hearth, in a Swiss chalet in the Alps. (at least that is how I picture it).
I was dumbfounded at first. Growing up in Lebanon where each dish requires elaborate steps and usually hours in the kitchen with at least one helper, I thought “That’s it?”.
It was in reality a fantastic meal. Rustic, simple, delicious! Catherine had all the trimmings there: Mustard (only one brand she deemed worthy of being consumed “Amora”), little cornichons, tiny pickled cocktail onions. We ate and ate and ate.
Everybody was happy and satiated.
I saw some raclette today at the store and even though I don’t have a raclette pan ( I could order one online for less than $40) I figured “hey, we can still make it”. I boiled the potatoes, got some prosciutto, good mustard and pickles, and melted the cheese under the broiler. Voilà!
Any cheese can be used for a raclette (if you don’t find the actual raclette cheese) such as sharp cheddar, Brie or Camembert. Each serving of cheese is about 4 ounces.
Any meats can be used or even shellfish; the portion should be also about 4 ounces per serving.
The potatoes should be the waxy type, such as Yukon Gold or the small red potatoes.
Fruits recommended for raclette could be apples, pears, apricots or prunes.
32 Comments • Comments Feed
What is raclette cheese like? The pan makes this look like a really complicated fondue, lol.
On February 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm
@Dana: Raclette is a firm cheese similar to a swiss or gruyère, but with its own distinct taste, which is a little like a camembert, just a mild one.
On February 7, 2011 at 10:45 pm
T.W. Barritt says:
Having been over to Louise’s blog yesterday, there does seem to be a whiff of fondue in the air! I’ve heard of raclette but never tried it. The “ceremony” of it all sounds fun. And, what could be better than melted cheese!
On February 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm
And just when I thought I knew it all… you teach me a new way to eat cheese, mustard, and meat. Sounds good to me! Thanks!
On February 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm
5 Star Foodie says:
This would be such an awesome appetizer for a party, how cool that there is a special pan and everything! Melted raclette cheese sounds amazing with the potato or ham slices!
On February 8, 2011 at 12:12 am
Banana Wonder says:
Thanks for teaching me about raclette. It’s like hot pot or fondue type dinning. I love it! So good with some dry white wine and good friends.
On February 8, 2011 at 2:26 am
Dana, the modern raclette grills make fondue merely one of the many possibilities to have with the raclette grill. Ah Joumana, you brought back some wonderful memories… When I was a university student, my friends and me spent many winter nights making traditional raclette. We cut the whole raclette cheese in two and the surface of the cut was exposed to the fireplace fires. Then the melted cheese was scraped off with a raclette knife. 🙂
On February 8, 2011 at 2:49 am
Mmmhhh, I love Raclette! Now I’m craving it…
On February 8, 2011 at 3:38 am
Maria @ Scandifoodie says:
What a delicious dish! I’d love to serve this at a dinner party 🙂
On February 8, 2011 at 4:05 am
Raclette, its has been ages i had them..
On February 8, 2011 at 4:27 am
My grandparents had a raclette dish and as I child I was totally fascinated by it: it is funny to cook food yourself at the table. We did not find raclette cheese where they lived, on the other hand, and I did not care much for the cheese we used as a substitute, so I preferred meat and vegetables. I did taste the cheese years later, a bit like you pictured it, in a chalet in the Alps, but cooked on a barbecue, actually. It was one of the best cheeses I have ever tasted.
Thanks for bringing back so many memories.
On February 8, 2011 at 5:42 am
I love the raclette. Reminds me of sharing a fondue like in the previous post or some shabu shabu in Japan. It seems most cultures have some sort of communal type meal. Thanks for the education!
On February 8, 2011 at 6:59 am
Isn’t Raclette Cheese called Reblochon ? It’s such a fantastic simple dish !
On February 8, 2011 at 8:17 am
@Jimmy: no raclette is raclette and reblochon is reblochon 🙂
On February 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm
Raclette is one of my favorite cheeses.. just a little “stinky” but so delicious melted on anything. When I had a fireplace, I loved putting it near the fire and melting it that way… toasted potatoes or bread by the fire are the best. I do wish I could try one of those machines now… they look like a gas and fun to share with friends!
On February 8, 2011 at 8:33 am
Melted cheese? Count me in. I wonder where I could get one of those pans here…
On February 8, 2011 at 8:46 am
j’aime beaucoup aussi, merci joumana
On February 8, 2011 at 10:17 am
This is so fun for parties! And, who can resist melted cheese? The cheese on the potatoes looks delicious.
On February 8, 2011 at 10:52 am
So I don’t need the pan. This is a must do – anything with melted cheese is a must do. Love the combinations and now love my broiler. I must say the raclette pan is a fun centerpiece.
On February 8, 2011 at 11:36 am
Swiss cheese is the best 🙂 I would love to taste this as well..looks so good
On February 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm
Fondue et maintenant raclette, tu m’étonnes ! elle est belle et colorée et me semble plus légère… Un peu éloignée du camembert au lait cru et à la croûte fleurie, c’est une pâte pressée comme le Tamié, le Morbier, le Salers ou même la Tomme… elle fond à la cuisson et dans mon pays nous l’aimons sous le grill… et la servons en raclant le dessus dans l’assiette…
On February 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm
This brings back great memories. Actually, it makes me realize how long it’s been since I’ve enjoyed this specialty with a few friends around a low table and fluffed pillows on the floor. Of course a great glass of vino was not too far either ;o)
You’re right…there’s really no real need for the equipment.
Ciao for now,
On February 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm
Steve @ HPD says:
very embarrassing story about ordering raclette in Switzerland … seems they had a different word for a smaller, appetizer portion, and I ended up ordering basically a small portion as an appetizer and a larger portion of the exact same thing as my main course. funny thing is … i’ve done that three times in three different countries!
On February 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm
Nothing says Switzerland like the smell of raclette What would be better than plate of loaded velvety creamy hot cheese, potatoes, cornishons on the side, it’s a terrific match for almost any entree, the meal itself is so sociable, it’s the perfect edible package. For a moment I close my eyes and I am am transported to Lausanne where we dined and wined at this little quaint restaurant, it was one of the most loved dishes in the region, and soon it became mine.
On February 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm
Yummy…ça me rappelle mes belles années d’université en France. Tu décris tellement bien ce sentiment d’un plat si simple et rapide à faire, mais si chaleureux et tellement bon. Et comme toi, j’ai pensé à ces heures interminables qu’on passe en cuisine lorsqu’on reçoit des invités…alors que c’est possible de recevoir autrement…mais qu’on n’oserait, nous, jamais faire!! Bonne soirée Joumana.
On February 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm
Magic of Spice says:
How lovely that you were able to recreate such an experience…such a wonderful idea and fantastic ingredients 🙂
On February 9, 2011 at 12:44 am
Yes, some often forget that French cooking is not only “nouvelle cuisine” but millions of simple, tasty rustic dishes, based on potatoes, local cheeses and eventually ham. Thanks for your presentation.
On February 9, 2011 at 5:13 am
Love raclette too though rarely eat it. My husband made me a version of raclette (sort of) using baked Mont d’Or and it was fabulous! Now that it is winter you have put me in the mood for it again!
On February 9, 2011 at 6:58 am
I have had raclette in a potato dish and loved it but I had NO IDEA about this special plate. That is seriously cool!!
On February 9, 2011 at 10:49 am
J’adore la raclette, mais surtout ce que j’aime le plus c’est la chaleur (de l’appareil aussi!) et la convivialité d’un repas partagé avec nos proches autour d’une raclette. Le mieux, c’est comme tu le décris : manger une raclette dans un chalet de montagne avec un bon vin blanc et la neige qui tombe à l’extérieur, le rêve !
Bisous, et bonne soirée Joumana !
On February 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm
I make Raclette several times a year, in the fall and winter. I have the Swiss machine with 8 slots. I pre-steam (barely) all kinds of vegetables: sliced zucchini, green and yellow, all color peppers, sliced also, several kinds of mushrooms, different kinds of potatoes, mostly fingerlings of all colors (purple, white, red), little bowls of fresh, sliced tomatoes to fit in the little containers, chopped herbs, about 6 or 7 kinds of cheese: raclette (easy to find in Dallas), gruyère, camembert or brie, pepper jack, cheddar, white and yellow, fresh mozzarella… and any other cheese that will melt well. Then everyone prepares their “theme” thingie: Mexican style with pepper jack, jalapenos, cilantro over white potatoes, Italian style with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil etc… It takes forever… and it is so much fun! My friends can’t wait to come for raclette. Bonus: can all be prepared in advance, and we all “cook” at the table!
On July 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm
@Marie-Claire: What a fantastic way to serve it! Will try it your way next time!
On July 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm