Monday, May 17, 2010

Fondue+Grilling = Raclette

This weekend I discovered Raclette. Raclette is a mild cheese from Switzerland, but it's also a style of dining, similar to fondue. In fondue, you either use oil broth as a cooking medium, or you melt cheese and wine together and dip fresh veggies and such into the mix.

For Raclette, you use a grill to get the meats and veggies toasty warm and golden,and a broiler to melt your cheese. You pour the unadulterated, melty cheese over everything, and drink wine with the meal.

It was love at first bite.

I think that nothing will quite replace fondue in my heart, but this method comes close. It has a few advantages over fondue, in fact. One, it's easier for a large number of people to cook their stuff. Just put it on the grill and turn it, no entangled fondue forks. Two, it's great for vegans or meat-eaters. The cheese is optional and you cook it yourself, so someone who doesn't eat cheese can still participate. Three, the meat (usually smoked sausage and hams) and veggies are all pre-cooked, so you're just warming it up, so there's much less of a concern about food safety. Four, you choose whatever wine you want to drink, and aren't forced into having a certain wine because that's the wine in the fondue.

Also, it's more summery than fondue, what with the grilling and all, and can be adapted to a variety of textures and flavors.

There are, of course, specialized Raclette grills and utensils and suchlike, but it wouldn't be too hard to adapt a barbecue grill for the same purpose.

For further research, check out Raclette grills at Amazon, and some traditional and non-traditional Raclette recipes.

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