For anyone who wants to throw a fun social meal should look into raclette cooking ideas. Raclette is a type of meal which uses melted Swiss cheese spread on different foods cooked on a grill. It is a traditional Swiss meal during winter usually by peasants who spend the night on pastures. Nowadays, raclette is an alternative to fondue, another communal meal which involves cooking cheese.
Great raclette cooking ideas abound in the native Valais, as the French-speaking region in the Swiss Alps. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when you go for raclette when entertaining your friends.
- Choose the right raclette grill – Make sure the grill can accommodate the number of people you have invited over for the meal. When more food is piled on the raclette grill, the temperature tends to go down and cook the food poorly. It is either you get a large raclette grill or use more for a bigger party.
- Get the cheese right – The cheese must be mild in taste and have a creamy, buttery texture. Most cheeses for raclette have a beige tinge and aged for three to four months before being formed into large wheels. If raclette cheese is unavailable, other cheeses that are as versatile will do. Cheddar, mozzarella, feta, gouda, camembert, gruyere, parmesan, gorgonzola and butterkaese can also be substituted for an interesting twist on taste and texture.
- Prepare food for grilling – Potatoes and baguettes are mainstays of a raclette meal but other edibles may be included as well. Charcuterie, or dried meat cuts like bacon, ham, salami and the like may also be included. Vegetables such as pickled gherkins, small onions, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers can be included but make sure they are cut small and thin to make it easier for food to cook on a grill. Firmer vegetables can be blanched to make it half cooked and ready for grilling. Seafood and fish will do fine on the raclette grill but they require lower cooking temperatures.
- Supplement with dips, sauces and condiments – Raclette meals can be spiced up by addition of other dips that are not based on cheese but provide umami flavors. Sauces can range from sweet, salty to sour as long as there are foods that can complement it. Condiments may be other spices that can give the cheese and charcuterie a tasty twist.
- Complement with drinks – Traditionally, a warm beverage like brewed herbal tea is served with raclette meals. However, wines such as kirsch or fendant, a local white wine, can also be served. Aside from wines, mocktails, beer and sparkling beverages are also refreshing. Do not serve water as it has the tendency to cause indigestion.
There are no hard fast rules for raclette cooking ideas. After all, the guests choose what kind and how they want their food cooked on the raclette grill. The key here is to make sure that the food complements the cheese and that the atmosphere casual and light to get a successful raclette party.