For years, since the Accidental Locavore lived in Paris, I’ve been crazy for raclette. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing a fabulous winter dish! It’s what fondue wants to be, but isn’t. Traditionally, half a wheel of raclette cheese is melted over a fire and the melted bits are scraped onto your plate. Then, you scoop up the cheese with chunks of steamed potatoes. Cornichons, pickled onions and slices of ham (like Serrano) combined with a good red wine, make this a perfect meal.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to find anyone in this country serving raclette, never mind in the traditional way, but it’s pretty simple to make at home. While people like Willams- Sonoma sell raclette machines, unless you become a raclette addict, they’re not mission-critical. A trip to Murray’s cheese will get you most of the ingredients (cheese, cornichons, ham and pickled onions) and you probably have potatoes at home. This is how I did it for myself recently – scale it up depending on how many people you’re feeding. A simple salad would go well with this.
• ½ pound French or Swiss raclette cheese, cut into ¼” slices
• 3-4 small Yukon Gold, fingerling or red new potatoes, cut in half
• ¼ pound Serrano ham or prosciutto
• Pickled onions
Preheat the broiler. In a medium pot over high heat, cook the potatoes until fork-tender (about 15 minutes). Drain the potatoes and put on a plate with the ham, cornichons and onions. When the potatoes are cooked, put a slice or two of the cheese in an oven-proof ramekin and broil until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble and brown. Dip the potatoes in the cheese and eat with the ham, cornichons and onions. Enjoy!
My verdict: Writing this is making me rethink dinner…
You want to only do a little bit of cheese at a time, as it’s much better hot from the broiler. If you’re serving a few people, you can just put a crock of potatoes on the table and dishes with the ham and pickles so everyone can help themselves. People can have individual ramekins of cheese, or you can do like the French, melt a big piece and scrape a bit of cheese on everyone’s plate. No matter how you do it, it’s just delicious!