Gone are the days of our giant raclette parties in New York City (for now), so instead we’ll be continuing our tradition chez nous (and we advise you to do it as well). In the meanwhile, as this is the year of crafts, at-home-activities, and DIY projects, we’ve compiled an easy how-to for a safe, at-home raclette party-of-one (or two if you’d like to double the ingredients). Get your share of raclette and make it a fun cheat meal or a delicious, cozy antidote to winter blues and continuous quarantines.
Raclette is a heavy Alpine dish that skiers and families from the region indulge in as a remedy to a cold day. It mostly relies on the quality of the cheese (which is excellent in the Alps), known as as raclette. It is a firm cheese from cow’s milk, that ranges from ivory to golden color with a soft and creamy consistency and few holes. Flavor can range from mildly fruity to aromatic depending on the degree of ripeness. If you’ve got that covered then you can easily arrange for an American transplant of the traditional French raclette.
Raclette for One
There are plenty of pricey raclette makers and entire sets filled with everything down to the cheese slices and vegetables, but this adorable mini cheese pot works with simple candle light, illuminating little cow cutouts as it heats the pan. It is easily transportable to a picnic or a little getaway. You can also use the tray to melt cheese over a fire or a grill. Try it once and you’ll be ordering another one immediately after for all your friends and family too.
The French aren’t big on packaged foods (though we must admit that Mifroma offers raclette cheese slices neatly packaged in a plastic container for an alternative lazy option) and so we will be on the hunt for a cheese monger instead. In New York we know that the good cheese comes from Murray’s Cheese. Aside from raclette, other options include gruyère and other hard French cheeses that melt well.
$8.99, available on Mercato.com or in-store at Murray’s in West Village, NYC.
While there are plenty of additional ingredients we could list first, you will need French cornichons (no excuses!). These are perfectly crunchy, moderately flavored, and potentially one of life’s best tasting pickled inventions. Maille is the usual go-to brand also available stateside.
$7.79, available at Instacart.
Traditional raclette ingredients also include boiled potatoes, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and asparagus (if you’d like to be fancy.) You are welcome to include any extra favorites here even if they are not usually used as it is such a heavy carb dish–the more greens the better.
about $10 at your local bodega
Sometimes I truly think that raclette is just a fancy charcuterie bored covered in melted cheese, and it is indeed quite a valid image. Your raclette is nothing without lardons or good charcutterie options. However, lardons are a confusing idea for Americans as they are simply differently cut pieces of bacon, but somehow much harder to find. Head over to your favorite butcher or to Trader Joe’s where you can chose between options of speck, salami, sorpressata, and more.
Some will even grill a steak or roll their asparagus in pieces of meat to make their dish heartier. The truth is that anything goes as long as it’s companied by potatoes and covered in melted cheese.
$4.99, uncured salami available at Trader Joe’s.
(price is dependent on the quantity and diversity of vegetable and charcuterie options)