I am very excited to introduce to you our favorite meal of all time: French Raclette. This is a meal that takes very little time to prepare but, like any good French meal, takes a long time to enjoy. It's a great meal for when you have special company you'd like to sit and chat all night with. To make raclette you need: a raclette grill, raclette cheese, meats and potatoes, drinks and vegetables.
Raclette Grill: When we moved home from France in 2007, these were not easy to find in the U.S. but they are becoming more popular. Ours is the Swissmar 8-person Raclette Party Grill with Granite Stone but there are many types available.
Meat: Meats typically eaten are proscuitto, ham, salami and other dried meats.
Cheese: The hardest part of this meal, besides finding a raclette grill, is finding raclette cheese. It's a specific cheese from France or Switzerland so you'll need to go to a European market or a store with lots of cheese imports. It's not cheap which is why this meal does not count as one of my bargain meals!
Potatoes: Small, round potatoes with thin skin will do. Yukon Gold, fingerling, or white potatoes are easy-to-find grocery store variety potatoes that work well with raclette. You need to boil them whole until they slide off a fork when stabbed.
Drinks: Raclette is typically served with tea or other warm beverages. Another popular option is to serve raclette with wine. Local tradition cautions that cold drinks will cause the cheese to harden in the stomach, leading to indigestion.
Other things: A French dinner requires baguettes, obivously, but you'll be so full that you wont even touch the bread. All kinds of pickled things go well with raclette. You can add them to the cheese as it melts. I also like to served a green salad with vinaigrette before the meal, while the grill heats up.
As the grill warms, you can place your potatoes on top of the grill. You can put the cheese and meat into the tray and sit back, sip some tea or wine and wait for the cheese to get bubbly. Drizzle said cheese over your potatoes and... VOILA! The best meal you will ever eat! We only do raclette about once a year just to keep it extra special. I cant wait for next time! Bon Appétit!