Raclette: A Simply Delicious Romantic Dinner Idea
Today I’m sharing how to make Raclette at home. Raclette is a traditional Swiss dish that is all about sitting at the table for a long time and eating little bits slowly through the evening. It’s a perfect dish for any special occasion, especially a romantic evening at home.
Yesterday I told you about Dan Savage‘s advice to not eat a big meal on Valentine’s Day. Or at least, to not get so full that you want to sleep instead of spending time awake under the sheets with your sweetheart.
Today I have another tip: Don’t get all sweaty and tired preparing the meal. You won’t be in the mood for romance if you’re exhausted when you finally sit down to eat.
Keep it simple.
Keep it easy.
Save up your energy for your time together.
A main course that I recommend for a romantic dinner is Raclette.
Raclette is a Swiss dish that traditionally involved taking a big chunk of cheese and melting the side of it near a fire. You would then scrape the melty cheese onto some bread or boiled potatoes.
Nowadays Raclette is made in restaurants (and in the home of my in-laws. Don’t ask. It’s a long story) using a big machine that you put a massive half round of cheese onto. This machine heats one side of the cheese and then you scrape the melty bits off onto the diner’s plate. It can be made at home using a special contraption that sits on top of a table or one of these nifty tools for use on a grill.
I’ve dispensed with the need for any special equipment and do mine under the broiler in a cast iron skillet.
So now, why does Raclette make for the perfect romantic dinner? Because it’s such a simple dish. The cheese takes mere minutes to broil in the oven. You serve it with boiled or steamed potatoes and a bunch of easy items that you buy at the store, like cornichons or gherkins, pickled artichoke hearts and cured meats like ham, salami or prosciutto and a very basic green salad.
You won’t use any energy at all cooking so you’ll be fresh, happy and relaxed when you sit down to eat.
In addition, Raclette is interactive in the way I described romantic dinners to be yesterday. You cook a bit of the cheese at at time and then share it as you pass the meats and pickled items between you.
You can even do one pan of cheese (like the one pictured above) and have it with a few potatoes, a bite or two of the other accompaniments and a sip or two of Riesling. Then sit back and chat. Or maybe you take a break from the table for a little while.
The potatoes will still be warm when you get back as long as you remember to put the lid on the pot before you leave. This assumes that you’re not gone for an insanely long time. If you are gone for a long time, lucky you! And then really, who cares if the potatoes are cold?
When you get back you:
Broil another slice or two of cheese.
Drink a bit more wine.
And fall in love all over again (with your sweetheart AND with cheese. All that hot yumminess. I am so totally in love with them both!)
Note that we can’t buy raclette cheese at our grocery store. However, we recently received a gift of some raclette from my brother-in-law and his wife. They had it shipped using Amazon.com. It was really good. No complaints here! Only a lot of happiness.
- a pound of small white potatoes
- a small jar of cornichon or gherkins and other pickled items like artichokes, small onions, etc.
- an assortment of cured meats like ham, prosciutto, salami
- salad greens
- half a lemon
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- vegetable oil
- about ½ pound of raclette cheese (you can use gruyere or emmentaler if you can't get raclette)
- Preheat your broiler.
- Put the potatoes in a large pot and just cover them with cold water. Add a tablespoon of salt. Put them over high heat uncovered until the water boils. Reduce heat to low and partially cover allowing it to simmer until the potatoes are just fork tender (the amount of time depends on the size of your potatoes but can be anywhere from 5-10minutes). Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot and put the cover on the pot to keep them warm. Set the covered pot of potatoes on the table.
- Meanwhile, set our your cornichons and other pickled items and your meats on a serving tray. Put them on the table.
- Toss the salad greens in a large bowl with a good squeeze from your lemon half, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Put your bowl of salad on the table too.
- Drizzle a bit of vegetable oil into a cast iron skillet. Rub it around with some kitchen towel. Cut two ¼" slices from the cheese. Put the slices in a single later in the skillet. Put the skillet about 8 inches from the broiler elements. Cook until it is melted and bubbling and just starting to brown at the edges.
- While the cheese is cooking, serve some potaotes, meats and pickles onto your plates. When the cheese is ready, use a spatula to slide and squidge it over the potatoes.
- Once you've eaten a bit and are ready, slice some more cheese and put it under the broiler.
- Have fun!
Now, head on down to the comments section and tell me what do you think makes for a romantic dinner?