Cheese as a main course? Yes, please!
Ahhh, raclette. Raclette is kind of the deconstructed fondue. In Switzerland, the land of cheese that’s rivaled only by France, everyone has special raclette grills that you put in the middle of the table. People can then put meat, veg, or even jam and fruit in their personal tray (they come with 6-8 little trays) and cook it at the table. Not unlike the fondue pot that cooks at the table. The traditional thing to eat raclette with is small boiled potatoes, small pieces of sausage or lardons, and cornichons.
I have exactly zero inclination to own a raclette grill. Plus, when I was in Switzerland whenever we ordered raclette, they just slid some melted cheese onto a plate. Now THAT I can do. Suddenly I can seriously get behind the whole idea of a raclette party. It’s a great entertaining option for the fall/winter. Simply set out the go-withs. This can be literally whatever you want to put cheese on. The possibilities are endless. I went for a nod at the original, with the potatoes, but decided to Southwest it up a little bit with some cut up tamales and tortillas. I did like having a sweet option as well; I used fresh peaches and jam. I wouldn’t go overboard with sweet stuff, but I really liked having that as an option to break up the heavy, savory stuff.
Once guests arrive, just broil a wedge of cheese for 5-10 minutes and set it out. People can put all the little fixin’s on their plates and top it with the cheese. When the cheese is gone, throw another wedge under the broiler. Done and done.
- 2-3 wedges gruyere, raclette, camembert or other cheese
- 1 baguette sliced
- 1/2 pound small round potatoes
- 3 tamales cut into small pieces
- 1 pound smoked sausages sliced
- 1/4 cup preserves
- sliced fresh apples or peaches
- 1 jar pickled okra or cornichons
Preheat the broiler with the shelf about 6-8 inches below it. (It's typically the second rung.) Put the potatoes in a large pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Slice any rinds off the cheese. Add one whole wedge of cheese to a cast iron skillet. Broil for 5-10 minutes, checking on its progress halfway through. You want it to be all melted with the edges starting to bubble, but not get super brown. Different cheeses may require different cooking times so keep an eye on it.
Serve the cheese with the rest of the ingredients, letting everyone cut off chunks and put it on top of the other stuff on their plates. Once one wedge is finished, broil another wedge if everyone is still hungry.
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