I had never even heard of Raclette before meeting Christopher (alternate title for this post could be “why I’m glad I married a Swiss guy” ), and now we eat it all the time. It’s a fun dinner to make when you have a lot of people over, since it’s an interactive meal where you cook the food at the table. It’s easily customizable to fit different tastes/palates, too (we always make ours vegetarian). Also, who wouldn’t love endless amounts of melted cheese ?!
Serve it with potatoes, something pickled (important to counteract the richness of the cheese), meat (if you like), vegetables, sometimes fruit, always with wine.
So what is Raclette?
Raclette is a type of cheese from Switzerland, but it’s also a meal style, where you melt cheese and eat it over potatoes, vegetables, meats, etc.
Traditionally, Swiss peasants would cut a wheel of raclette cheese in half and place it in front of the fire until the top layer became melted and toasted. They then scraped the cheese onto a plate, usually over potatoes (you will find raclette served this way in restaurants, almost exclusively). A lot of restaurants in Switzerland charge a flat fee for raclette, and will continue to scrape cheese onto your plate until you pass out 🙂
Don’t worry if you can’t find Raclette cheese! Any good melting cheese with a strong flavor will work (this time, we used Appenzeller, Tilsit, and Gruyere).
We have this Raclette grill, which is awesome because the granite top gets super hot so you can cook your vegetables/meats while your cheese is cooking underneath.
Raclette is becoming trendy outside of Switzerland, too! There’s a restaurant in NYC called (appropriately) “Raclette NYC”, that people are absolutely freaking out over (watch the video, here).
Make sure you start the grill about 10-15 minutes before you sit down to eat so you can start cooking vegetables/cheese/meat right away!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cheese (Raclette, Gruyere, Appenzeller, Fontina, Tilsit, even Fontina)
*plan for about 1/2 lb. of cheese per person
- Potatoes (I like fingerling potatoes, but really any kind of potato works here
- Pickled Vegetables (we used Gerkins & Hearts of Palm)
- Vegetables ( we used bean sprouts, two types of mushrooms, green onion, haricot vert, and Loroco (!)
- White Wine- Choose a crisp, dry, white wine like Chablis since it will help to counterbalance all that cheese!
Optional: Sliced Apples/Pears
*Many Swiss people would also say that you need Aromat, Maggi, and lemon pepper to make the best raclette. Aromat is comparable to Lawry’s seasoning salt, and can be found in some grocery stores in the U.S. or on Amazon. You sprinkle aromat or lemon pepper on the cheese before you put it under the burner. Maggi is a popular ingredient with Swiss people- they add it to everything! While a bit controversial (it contains MSG), it does add a umami flavor that transforms vegetables and meat.
Have you ever had Raclette?