Many centuries ago in Switzerland, shepherds and grape harvesters across the mountainous country satisfied their hunger with Raclette. When the laborious days work was done, they would gather around a campfire and hold the cut surface of their local cheese up to the heat of a fire. Using a knife they would scrape the melted cheese onto potatoes and pickles. This melting and scraping of the cheese would continue till everyone ate their fill.
Raclette derives from the French word, "raclet: to scrape." Today raclette refers to the modern day grill used to melt the cheese, and also as the type of cheese used while enjoying this delicious traditional dish.
Today, modern raclette grills consist of a grill placed on top of a heating element. Small dishes filled with slices of cheese are placed under the heating element to allow for the cheese to melt. During this time, individuals may place small cuts of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill top for their own unique and tasty creations. Cooked veggies and meats are placed on a plate along with the traditional pickles and potatoes if desired. The dish is then removed from under the grill, and the creamy melted cheese is scraped onto the prepared plate. Everyone can experiment with their own personal taste and style of cooking while relaxing and enjoying an evening with friends and family-the raclette way.
Traditional Raclette Recipe
This simple raclette recipe should be the first you try on your raclette grill or raclette melter. Serves 4
Wash potatoes and, with skins on, boil in a pot filled with salted water for about 20 min. Test with a knife if the potatoes are done. Keep warm until ready to use in an insulated potato basket. In the meantime remove the rind of the cheese and cut into 1/16" thick slices using a adjustable wire slicer. Arrange gherkins, onions, and Buendnerfleisch on a platter and set aside until required. Turn raclette on to begin to heat up (allow for at least 5 minutes before using). For Raclette grills: Each guest takes a slice of cheese, places it in their pan and slides it under the raclette grill to melt. It takes approximately 2 minutes to melt to a creamy consistency and 3 minutes for a more crispier top. In the meantime take a potato, place onto your plate and cut it into a few pieces, remove the pan from under the grill once it's reached its preferred consistency and hold the pan onto its side to scrape the cheese out, using your wooden spatula. For Raclette melter, each guest prepares potatoes and side dishes on their plates. When the cheese starts melting on the wheel, scrape the cheese onto the plate. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and paprika. Pair Grand Cru Raclette with Pinot Grigio, Fendant, a Swiss white wine, or a light, fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais.
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