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Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Jan 17 Raclette Birthday Celebration

Raclette is a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland and France. The Raclette cheese, from the French word “to scrape”, is heated in front of a fire or on a special grill and then scraped on to small boiled potatoes when the cheese is melted and dusted with paprika and fresh-ground black pepper.

Condiments that are served with this meal are a variety of sour pickles such as gherkins, picked onions and pickled beets.

When Mary- An and I had Raclette in Switzerland, each home had their own variety of condiments. Here in Calgary, our friends serve sliced canned pineapple and small cubes of chicken breast that need to be grilled. In the past years, they have increased the amount of salads served such as iceberg salad, spinach and mushroom and grated carrot salad. The nicest variety of pickles served was in Lucerne in particular the pickled zucchini in white wine was delicious. Last night, shrimp was a nice addition to the meal.

I first heard about Raclette on a cooking show in Winnipeg in the seventies when Brain Little grilled in a frying pan ½ thick cheese slices until the outside was crisp and the cheese was gooey soft in the middle. These cheese slices were served with boiled potato, pickles and a green salad.

Raclette can simply be melted by placing slices of cheeses on ovenproof plates into a very hot oven or microwaving the cheese for a few minutes. He discussed how the oldest method of melting and serving Raclette was the fireplace as the cheese round facing the glowing coals melted, it was scraped on to heated plates. Nomadic Swiss herders could easily prepare this meal around a campfire.

The modern electric grill melts the cheese in small pans and grills meat, seafood and vegetables on the top grill. This is a leisurely meal and ideal for a cold winter days. Raclette cheese that is already sliced can be purchased in Calgary .  On you tube, I found a candle heated raclette which would work beautiful on a ski hill!!

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