To explain what it is and why I am waxing rhapsodical: raclette is cheese. Cheese that is very melty and stinky and that you can only find during the winter months. Mon Mari thinks it's akin to Velveeta because of all the melting but I'm not so sure. First of all, you have to keep it refrigerated. Second, it's a light white true cheese color rather than the garish seen-from-space yellow of our national melter. And that smell can't be man-made. It's cheese all the way....a savoyard cheese to be exact and it's called raclette because they used to heat it and then 'scrape' it onto the plate. When you type 'raclette' into google translate you get 'squeegee'. Makes sense. Squeeze cheese; but not from a can.
|re-enacted raclette & grill photo; we were too greedy last night to bother with photos|
It's cozily communal because the grill sits in the middle of the table, a pot of cooked potatoes warming on the top, along with sauteed mushrooms and green peppers, onions if you like. You serve various meats alongside too, like salami and parma ham. And of course cornichons. I also like to add grainy mustard. Then you melt the cheese in the square pans and pour it on top of the potatoes, meat, pickles--whatever tickles your fancy. It slides out of the pan, bubbly like cheese on cheese toast straight from the broiler.
Last night, my family got very creative with it and started piling the little square pan with chopped up potato, pickles and mushrooms so the cheese would melt ON TOP of these things rather than waiting to pour the cheese all on its own onto the plate full of goodies. I prefer waiting and pouring but to each his own.
And now I'm craving it again. If you live here and have never tried it (like me until two weeks ago) you definitely should. And if you don't live here I'm real sorry. Maybe you can find something like it. Or come visit. And if not, you've always got nachos and queso with melty Velveeta. I do love that too.