1 pound Raclette cheese, sliced (for alternatives, see below)*
1 – 1/2 pounds cooked new red potatoes, slice in half
1 small jar gherkin cucumbers, drained
1 small jar cocktail onions, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste
Raclette is both a recipe and a cheese. Originating in Switzerland, Raclette cheese is a smooth melting mild cheese made from cow’s milk. The cheese became the dish when traditional Swiss herdsmen would take along wheels of cheese as they led their grazing cows from alpine pasture to alpine pasture. In the evening they would place the cheese on rocks by the fire to warm. When the cheese reached the right stage the men would scrape the warm melting cheese onto bread and boiled potatoes and enjoy it with pickled onions and gherkins.
Today, Raclette the recipe (or method of cooking) is enjoyed as a mainstay meal throughout the year but is a particular favorite during ski season. Instead of warming cheese by a fire (although this could be a fun camping meal), electric Raclette grills are placed in the center of the table surrounded by bowls and platters of cheese, meat, vegetables and bread of your choice. Each diner places cheese in small individual pans and then places it under the Raclette grill to melt. While cheese is melting diners place small amounts of potatoes, meats and vegetables on top to cook or warm (small amounts of food may be placed in the pan with the cheese under the grill). When cheese is ready food is placed on individual plates and cheese is scraped over the top. When one pan of cheese is melted, place a second slice of cheese under the grill to keep the meal going. Raclette, like Fondue is slow food; take time to enjoy friends and conversation while cheese is melting.
To make Raclette without a grill or campfire, place slices of cheese in oven proof dishes or plates in a 425 degree oven to melt.
Be adventuresome and try new food and cheese combinations. Portions in first section of recipe ingredients will serve 4-6
* Try any local smooth melting cheese such Swiss, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Fontina, Brie, Camembert, Havarti, Cheddar, Gouda. Plan on approximately 3-6 ounces cheese per person
Try one or more of the following additions
Salami, Prosciutto, or cooked Ham thinly sliced
Young Zucchini, cut in bite-size pieces
Green or Red Bell peppers, sliced
Roma tomatoes, sliced
Sliced fresh Mushrooms
Crusty Baguette Bread, sliced
Other foods of your choice