Sunday, May 1, 2016

Swiss Gourmet Specialties: Raclette at Home (no raclette heater)!!

Switzerland's top two cheese-related gourmet specialties are, without a doubt, fondue and raclette. Most of us here in this (South East Asian) neck of the woods should be very familiar with fondue, but chances are that raclette remains a bit of a mystery. Raclette is both the name of the dish, and the name of the cheese used; i.e. you use raclette (the cheese) to make raclette (the dish). A little confused? Well, it looks something like this:

Raclette Heater
Image courtesy of Ono Kako

To be a little more accurate, Raclette (the dish) is made by heating a whole semi-circle of raclette (the cheese), scraping off layers as they melt, and eating the melted cheese with boiled new potatoes, cornichons (small pickled gherkins), pickled pearl onions, and charcuterie (various cold meats).

If, like 100.00% of the Singapore/Malaysia population, you don't have a dedicated raclette heater, you still can sample this Swiss specialty, though - just use a toaster or your oven's broiler function! Something like this:

Oh, before we forget, Raclette is normally eaten with cornichons and pickled pearl onions - the tartness of which provides a refreshing respite from the richness, earthiness and saltiness of the cheese and cold cuts.

Cornichons and Pearl Onions
Image courtesy of French Revolution

Anyway, the entire dish is uick, easy, and very satisfying! For the charcuterie, we mixed some salami, pastrami, Aussie prosciutto and black forest ham, but it really is entirely up to you. We bought the raclette cheese (in slices) at the amazing Huber's Butchery. Don't get intimidated by the really strong smell - the taste is actually rather mild (compared to the real pungent ones like Stilton). Enjoy!

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