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Monday, January 12, 2009
For our wedding last summer, we received a raclette grill as a gift. (We love our friends and family!) We were thrilled to receive it but it gathered dust in our basement over the summer and the fall as we continued to use our barbeque.
We decided that over the Christmas holidays, it would be a great time for us to break out our raclette grill. So my husband bought about a kilo of raclette cheese from the cheesemonger in anticipation for a New Year’s Party that didn't happen. The cheese sat in our fridge this week and we decided that immediate intervention was required in order to make a dent in it.
So we celebrated the end of our first week at work with a relaxing and fun dinner. We poured ourselves some bubbly (also another remnant from our wedding) and fired up the indoor grill. We assembled platters of roast turkey, the hottest Genoa salami, pickled onions, gherkins, escargots, shrimp, cubes of salmon, quail eggs, sliced mushrooms, boiled baby potatoes and loads of shaved raclette cheese. Then we sat down to talk about the events of the past week as well as the next stage of our home renovations. (Oh dear...)
There is something truly sublime about oozy molten cheese. But it’s a balance: too much cheese and it is unctuous and unpleasant and too little, well then, what’s the point? But just the right amount and it is a luxurious and comforting.
Unlike fondue where you plunge cubes of bread and meats into hot oil or cheese, with raclette, you grill your seafood, meat and vegetable on the grill on top. Then you shovel them onto the tiny raclette pan, sprinkle cheese and slide it under the broiler below until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
The beauty of raclette is its simplicity: melted cheese over grilled vegetable, meat and seafood – few things are this easy to prepare and are this delicious. The preparation is also quite simple. In fact, it took us less than fifteen minutes to assemble our food for grilling. Then we spent about ninety minutes grilling, and nibbling. And of course, sipping champagne. (Wouldn't it be nice to live like this every day?)
8 oz raclette cheese per person (I think you could probably use other cheeses you like – I think mozzarella, cheddar, emmental, gruyere may all work nicely.)
For grilling – some suggested items:
• cubes of salmon or beef
• peeled raw shrimp
• green onions, cut into two inch pieces
• sliced button mushrooms
• boiled mini potatoes, sliced in half
• cooked escargot (my husband’s request)
• quail eggs (we cook them in the mini raclette pan versus the grill)
(We grilled tomatoes, I don't recommend them because the liquid gets so hot that it's a tongue burner.)
For the side:
• deli meats: prosciutto, roasted turkey, hot salami
• pickled onions
Sparkling white wine or champagne is a great accompaniment because it is very bright and refreshing.