If you have never heard of a raclette before, here it is:
I first tried this dining gadget at a dinner party in France and I found it to be a great, sociable and fun way to spend an evening. So much so that I hunted down my own raclette in Paris and lugged it home on the Eurostar, which was quite a mission but totally worth it!
I would describe it as a kind of table-top grill/ hotplate/ fondue device and hopefully my pictures will show you exactly how enjoyable it can be.
There is a type of cheese, called raclette cheese, which is traditionally meant to be served with the raclette grill but it can be quite hard to find and is a rather strong and pungent cheese. I found it at a speciality cheese shop once and bought it to enjoy a truly authentic raclette dinner party but it provoked quite a love/hate reaction and I actually found that I prefer a slightly milder cheese, such as Camembert or Brie. You don’t have to stick to French cheese for this recipe and I always try to get a variety – most cheese works well as long as it melts and has a good flavour.
As you can see, all of the effort in this meal is in the preparation and you can use a huge variety of ingredients depending on what you like or what you have in the cupboards!
I always serve potatoes and a nice bread, to give the meal some substance, and then I would recommend providing a selection of cheese, salad, cold meats and pickles but you can also add meats, fish…anything really!
This is an excellent hands-off and low-fuss dinner party as once you have provided the ingredients your guests really do take care of themselves!
You simply load up your little saucepan with an array of vegetables, meat and cheese and then stick them under the grill to melt…perfection.