Friday, October 06, 2006

How to Have Your Own Raclette Experience

Those of you who shop at Trader Joe’s: have you ever wondered what to do with raclette cheese? I’m going to tell you how I was taught to use it.
When I wrote my post about Five Things to Eat Before You Die, # 2 on my list was raclette. I soon learned that Pamela of Posie’s Place put it down as #1 on her list. Pamela might do hers differently; there’s really no right or wrong except that you include boiled potatoes.

Raclette is made in large wheels. In many Swiss restaurants, the wheel of cheese is heated, sometimes in front of an open fireplace, and the melted cheese is scraped off onto a plate of potatoes and other fixings.

A lot of German and Swiss homes have raclette machines. It’s sort of like a fondue experience - the machine is a bit like a small salamander - it has a broiler, into which the diners put their own little pans of raclette-covered food. When we lived in Mörfelden-Walldorf (south of Frankfurt), we became friends with our landlord’s daughter Christina and her husband Egon. Christina had a raclette machine, and introduced us to a great dining experience.

Here’s how you can do it at home with just a toaster oven or even your large oven.

You’ll need: boiled potatoes (they must be the waxy kind, such as white or red, but not russets), and then your choice of add-ins. We use sliced bananas (really! the taste combination is sublime!), canned mushrooms, and cooked bacon.

On a small baking sheet or oven-proof dish, put a layer of sliced, boiled potatoes, sliced bananas, mushrooms, and pieces of cooked bacon. Top with thin slices of raclette. Broil or bake at a high temperature until cheese has melted. Serve with some pickles on the side. (I like sweet, but I think that you’re supposed to use dill.)

As I prepared the potatoes for this dish, I pulled another of my favorite kitchen gadgets out of the drawer and realized I forgot to submit it to Pamela’s Favorite Kitchen Gadget event. I don’t know what this is called. Ulrike? Pamela? Do you know what it’s called? I bought it in Germany 25 years ago. It’s used to hold hot potatoes while you peel them. I sure would like another one, so if anyone can get one and send it to me, I’ll be glad to pay you in advance!


Anonymous said...

I don't kvow the exact expression. It's called "Kartoffelpieker" ;-). The real expression is "Pellkartoffelgabel" means fork for peeling potatoes. Email me at ostwestwind at yahoo dot de and I'll send you one.

Anonymous said...

That raclette looks yummy, it is definately one of my favourite winter warmer dinners. I had my first Autumn raclette the other night. Snap!!

Anonymous said...

Ah, raclette! Your recipe is great for those who have to do without a raclette grill, but I think that the raclette grill adds another layer of excitement to it all: The interactivity of preparing your own meal with your friends around, eaten directly where it is made, at the dining table. Raclette Australia has some very well written info pages on raclette, definitely worth a read...

PS: Frankfurt and the GruenGuertel... I miss riding the bike everywhere! And, yes, potato fork would be a good translation.