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New to Raclette - favorite uses or varieties?

SO now calls me a cheesehead, in addition to the discovery of the wonderfulness of Fontina, I also grabbed Raclette this past weekend which I threw in an omelet. I didn't think I was a fan of the Swiss family cheeses, but the cheesemonger mentioned that this is similar to those cheeses. Thus, it'd be nice to hear your favorite uses or varieties. He also mentioned that it has a quite different flavor when heated but I'm not sure that it was that noticeable to me.

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  1. The classic raclette dish is with potatoes - in parts of Europe they have special raclette grills for this. Boiled floury potatoes, topped with melted, browning cheese, served with gherkins on the side. Mmm.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

      may be a regional thing - but I've only ever had it in restaurants with waxy potatoes.

      At my house, my recommendations are based heavily on my inventory at the time....

      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

        I live in Northern California and have TWO raclette grills!!! One we bought in Switzerland 25 years ago and a second one we got maybe ten years ago here in the US. Just about any high-end cooking store will stock them now. I use red potatoes. And cornichons. We really go a little crazy with the accoutrements :) Here's a link that gives a ton of ideas:

        http://www.madronavineyards.com/whats...

        Our grills have eight little pans each and I think four people is the perfect number. One pan of cheese is melting while the other is being eaten :) I always grill some kind of meat - TJs has these great little sausages whose name escapes me. They're about the size of my index and white. Seems I precook and then we grill. Also throw things like slice mushrooms and peppers up there. It's a very fun dinner and we're always on the lookout for "raclette virgins." It's also a somewhat stinky cheese but doesn't taste that way.

      2. I'm not sure I'd agree that raclette is all that similar to Swiss cheese (raclette is quite soft; Swiss is generally quite firm)

        We like it in raclette (slices of raclette melted over boiled potatoes with cured meats) or in a riff on tartiflette (boiled potatoes, onion, and bacon layered and baked with layers of cheese)

        2 Replies
        1. re: sunshine842

          I see, so raclette refers to both the cheese and a a dish. Both the raclette and tartiflette sound great. Yea, it didn't taste very Swissy to me but as someone who rarely eats Swiss other than occasional nibbles, I wasn't too sure.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            "raclette" is the French word for "to scrape" - traditionally, you put the raclette under/near a heat source, then scrape the melted cheese over the potatoes and meats.

        2. There is both a French and Swiss raclette. generally the Swiss are more fuller flavored. If you can find the Bagnes farm Raclette, good luck here, IMHO you have hit Raclette nirvana.
          In the area of Chateau Gruyere there is a hardware store that seels 300 different raclette makers, scrapers, knives, electric ones, table ones, awesome store.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            My raclette party for two featured fresh crusty bread, potatoes, mushrooms, cured meats, grainy Dijon mustard, Gherkin pickles, onions and potatoes. I think raclette would work in any gratin, with cabbage or spinach dishes and sliced very thinly with a good ham in a grilled sandwich.

            It's definitely a melting cheese, so it can go into quiches or any baked dish that needs cheese to put it over the top.

            I've seen nutty cheeses paired with something fruity and veal chops on restaurant menus. I have to say that it doesn't appeal to me, but it might to you. As well, I have some Icelandic fish gratin recipes that call for a small amount of curry powder and a cheese like Muenster. You could certainly sub the Raclette in a fish or seafood gratin (fish/seafood and cheese strike me as an odd combo, but plenty of cultures embrace it. It's comfort food to the extreme.).

            Start experimenting. Your taste buds will let you know when you've gone too far. If you typically use Provolone in a deli meat sandwich, or Swiss Emmenthal in a Cubano, sub in your raclette. It's a pricey cheese to toss into a deli meat sandwich, but hey, why not?

            1. re: 1sweetpea

              we had some boiled shrimp in the fridge and threw them onto the raclette grill and then melted the cheese over them. Yum.

              1. re: sunshine842

                Wow that sounds delicious. I often break the "seafood with cheese rule" as I have found they often pair well.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  It really was -- it was one of those "let's use these before they go bad" and next time we were doing it on purpose.

                2. re: sunshine842

                  I second this. We always have shrimp with our raclette, but throw them on the grill raw. Very tasty. Cherry tomatoes, whole green onions cut into one- or two-inch lengths, and apples are also non-standard but delicious. And I looooove sprinking smoked paprika on my bites just before I eat them.

            2. I am very interested to do a traditional style Raclette dinner but in the meantime, I used up the leftover from last week in a stuffed chicken dish with Raclette, prosciutto and sauteed onions and garlic. It was divine! This really is a wonderful cheese.

              2 Replies
              1. re: fldhkybnva

                That chicken sounds great!

                1. re: juster

                  Thanks. It's apparent on the cheese board that I'm quite infatuated. I love it because it adds so much variety to simple things like chicken breasts. I do stuffed chicken a lot and just pick cheese and some other stuff in the fridge and it's always great. After my first encounter with the warm nutty flavor and wonderful melting properties of Raclette I knew itd be perfect for stuffed chicken.

              2. A few weeks ago I made a souffle using a Swiss raclette. It was marvelous!

                1. Raclette Stube in Zurich was touted in "Europe for 5 & 10 Dollars a Day" as a splurge. I had my first of many plates there in 1975. I see they are still in business, but a plate of cheese, potatoes, sweet gherkins, and pickled onions is now Euro 15 in a much swankier place.

                  Did you try your Fontina as a fondue? One rendition I had was half and half mayo and cheese. This was on the south side of the Matterhorn. So glad snow skiing burns so many calories.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    The Italians call a melted cheese dish with Fontina Val d'Osta a fonduta

                  2. Here's a pretty standard picture and that's a decent price.

                    http://www.amazon.com/Swissmar-KF-770...

                    1. I cut a potato in half lengthwise.scoop out a little channel in the center, then bake the tater at 400 for an hour. Add he fty slice of Raclette to the channel and bake another 15 mins

                      1. It is a popular and traditional meal here, almost as much as Fondue is.

                        In fact, you find it served in various forms and languages across all the Alps. Like fondue, the origin is making the best of leftovers in the Winter, being frugal with what you had, in this case a cheese wheel by the fireplace.

                        As sunshine842 accurately stated, the term comes from the French " Racler " or "to scrape. " A half wheel of cheese was placed in front of the fireplace, and the resulting melted cheese scraped downwards onto a plate of potatoes, pickles, and perhaps a few small onions. Hot tea was the traditional beverage served. Coarse ground black pepper is sprinkled over the dish.

                        Today you can find Raclette cheese in North America. My son in California finds it at Trader Joes periodically from a French supplier, pre-sliced as we have it here.

                        The Swissmar products ( we have one using 220-240 v ) are quite reliable, and a good value in North America. We take little raclette plates on picnics to cook over an open fire, along with good, small potatoes, other vegetables, shrimp, and ham, which is popular here.

                        The regional belief is that cold soft drinks or wine taken with Raclette will then harden in the stomach, and hence avoided. Our French neighbours do a pretty good job of it ignoring that rule, and serve it with a good dry or fruity white. So I think the idea of experimentation with Raclette is a good idea. Try what works for you best.

                        1. I'm very new to Raclette and this thread had a hand in me becoming familiar, thank you.

                          I bought a small piece of the French Livradoux Raclette at Shop Rite for a casserole dish and returned for a larger piece. I'm going to use it in an appetizer this weekend with potatoes, sausage and onions.

                          Thanks for the recommendation.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: HillJ

                            Just so you know, I've always been able to find it at TJs.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Glad to know and I'll keeping hoping but the Shop Rite is closer to me and their new dazzling cheese dept is spectacular since they opened in August. TJ's hit or miss is fine for my usual stops because I can always find something there to make the travel worthwhile but, their cheese, especially the popular ones go very fast. I could not find Raclette there.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                In the last year we got a real cheese shop in Reno which pleases me enormously! When we lived in SF we had one about two blocks from our house that probably had at least 200 cheeses. Now that was the life :)

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Lucky you! Even some of the best cheese departments in our area don't have hundreds avail at any given time; maybe 100. But they each seem to carry something different so it makes the hunt more fun.

                          2. I made this tartine this week with Reading Raclette. It was my first raclette experience and we loved it (the cheese and the tartine).

                            http://mimithorisson.com/2013/11/25/a...

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: EmBrooks

                              This sounds delicious, Em. I've never had (or even heard of!) a black radish. Must investigate. :)
                              We love raclette and often pull out the grills for Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve or day. It's so much fun and delicious delicious delicious.

                              Hot tea, wine, and even our neighbor's really very good home- brewed beer have all been great with raclette meals.
                              Thanks for the recipe link!

                              1. re: bonoeuf

                                I love radishes with raclette.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Sounds wonderful. I'll add them next time.

                                2. re: bonoeuf

                                  We usually have sliced baguette and quail eggs for a raclette version on eggs in the hole.

                                3. re: EmBrooks

                                  Reading Raclette is great!

                                4. It's great for the actual dish, raclette, but I'm perfectly content having a slice of it on crusty bread.

                                  Or... add it to a grilled cheese with cheddar. Oh, baby.