Cooking with Raclettes
For a great cooking event, host a Raclette party!
When you're looking for a dinner party idea that is as easy as fondue, but slightly different, try hosting a raclette party. Raclette is a type of cheese from Switzerland that is traditionally prepared with potatoes on a special raclette grill. The grill heats numerous small pans in which each guest melts the raclette with his or her choice of selected toppings.
The holiday season is the perfect time to introduce great new tastes into your seasonal entertaining. Consider hosting a raclette party and introduce your guests to some new and delicious flavour sensations.
Raclette is a traditional Swiss wintertime meal. The name comes from the French verb “racler”, which means to scrape. Raclette is cheese melted on a heated block or paddle, scraped off, served over small boiled new potatoes and accompanied by pickled onions, gherkins, and other condiments of your choice. The best choice for cheese is a Swiss raclette cheese, cut into slices. Other cheeses that also work well for this dish are French raclette, tilsit, grey alp cheese, appenzeller and emmental.
Starting with approximately 3-5 small potatoes per person, you can add a selection of meats, poultry, fish, seafood and vegetables. For meat and poultry, cut into 2-inch long thin strips (bite-size). Grill for 2-4 minutes until cooked to taste. (If using marinades be sure to clean up all excess liquid before grilling, as this will prevent burning). Seafood and fish also work wonderfully with raclette, but just keep in mind that their protein is more sensitive to heat and requires a lower cooking temperature (and be sure none of your guests have fish or seafood allergies). You can also include a selection of vegetables; use raw thin slices of zucchini, peppers, mushrooms or red onions, and if using firmer vegetables, you should blanche them to al dente, and rinse under cold water, before cutting up and serving.
Add a selection of your favourite dips and sauces, and a fresh baguette. Have freshly ground pepper, paprika, and sea salt available for individual seasoning (grilled foods should only be seasoned after cooking).
In Switzerland, a raclette is usually accompanied by a Fendant (a white wine from the Valais region). You can use a light bodied dry white wine, served at a temperature of 50-55F (consider a Swiss Neufchatel Blanc or California Fume Blanc). If you wish to serve red wine, a chilled Pinot Noir adds a fruity taste. Wine spritzers, beer and mocktails also work well.
Raclette for breakfast? How romantic!
In our November newsletter we talked about the ease and fun of cooking on a raclette grill. Over the past few months raclette grills have been receiving rave reviews on television, radio and in specialty magazines (and we’re pleased to have told you about them before they became so popular!).
Now we offer you a new way to enjoy your raclette — as a great way to prepare a breakfast or brunch buffet. (read buffet tips in entertaining ideas)
Prepare various omelette toppings, and place in separate dishes. Cook your eggs on the top of the grill, adding your individual topping choices, as desired.
Melt your raclette cheese on the paddles, and spread over top of your prepared omelette, or on top of English Muffins (which may also be toasted in small sections, on the raclette paddles). Serve with a fresh cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and you’ve prepared a gourmet breakfast, with ease and simplicity.