Melted cheese is a thing of beauty. Never mind your preference regarding the type, I’m sure we can all agree that gooey, melty cheese is just the thing to pull us out of the winter doldrums. My go to melty meal of choice? Raclette.
The name of both cheese and meal is often met with sighs of appreciation and longing at first mention. Anyone who has experienced this centuries old tradition likely remembers it fondly. If you haven’t, think back to your first grilled cheese or macaroni and cheese that used high quality cheese. Remember that comforting feeling and delicious experience. Now I want you to imagine multiplying that feeling by at least five. That’s what Raclette will do you.
Raclette is a traditional Swiss alpine cheese made of cow’s milk that is aged at least three months and finished with brine baths to further develop its aroma and flavor. The result is a slightly stinky, but very creamy, decadent semifirm paste that, of course, begs to be melted. Most people will tell you the meal based on this cheese was started around the campfires of hunters who mainly ate potatoes, pickles, and this cheese while on long hunts. The story goes that the cheese ended up too close to the fire, melted over the potatoes, and voila, Raclette (the meal) was born.
Over the past few centuries, many iterations of raclette grill contraptions have arisen. Some have a long, thin heating element to melt on face of a quarter wheel of the cheese. Others resemble an Easy Bake Oven with small plates inserted under larger heating elements that can be removed and the cheese scraped over your starch and protein of choice. If you’re dying to experience this melty meal but aren’t so crazy about aquiring another crazy kitchen contraption, fear not, I love this meal and have never used anything other than my oven.
You’ll need Raclette, potatoes, and cornichons for the most basic version of this meal. I love to also include thin slices of Speck, crusty bread, pickled onions, and a big green salad when I’m making this for friends. Whatever you choose, you’ll remember it fondlt and crave it often. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- 2 pounds sliced Raclette, rinds removed
- 1.5 pounds boiled fingerling potatoes
- 1 loaf artisan bread, sliced
- Sliced speck, prosciutto, or roasted meats
- 1 jar cornichons
- 1 jar pickled onions
- Other vegetables, mustard, or condiments, if desired
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay slices of raclette on the bottom of a shallow baking dish or small baking sheet. Bake for about 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and beginning to bubble and liquefy. Scrape over potatoes, bread, and any protein selections. Season with salt and pepper, serve immediately with cornichons, pickles, and other vegetables and sides.