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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.

This is an image of raclette, a dish of swiss cheese melted and served with boiled potatoes, cured meats and cornichons. This version of raclette is broiled 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.

Talk.

Laugh.

Flirt.

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.


An Easy Make-At-Home Raclette Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
If you don't have any fancy-shmancy raclette equipment at your house, never fear.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • a pound of small white potatoes
  • salt
  • 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)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, set our your cornichons and other pickled items and your meats on a serving tray. Put them on the table.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Once you've eaten a bit and are ready, slice some more cheese and put it under the broiler.
  8. Have fun!

Now, head on down to the comments section and tell me what do you think makes for a romantic dinner?

Comments
15 Responses to “Raclette: A Simply Delicious Romantic Dinner Idea”
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  3. I never knew how to make Raclette and now I can’t wait to give it a try. I do not have a cast iron skillet. Will a saute pan work?

    Thanks so much!
    Betsy @ Desserts Required recently posted: Brownie Hearts

  4. Rachael says:

    Raclette is the best! Before we moved to Switzerland we laughed at the idea… now we can’t wait for it to get cold enough each year to pull out the raclette grill :) There is something wonderful about food shared around the table with friends and family and Swiss food is great for that.
    Rachael recently posted: Honey and lemon pie

    • Christine Pittman says:

      So true! I always look forward to my in-laws raclette parties. They invite a bunch of people over and it’s a long cheesy night. So good!

  5. Jen says:

    I think the same rule applies to all holidays really – if you’re exhausted you simply can’t enjoy what the holiday is really about. And simple doesn’t mean it can’t be extraordinary!
    Jen recently posted: Tomato Basil Soup

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Jen, that’s so true. I just posted about tips for making dinner more romantic and the biggest one in my mind is to not go crazy with a complicated dinner. You end up all sweaty and exhausted and then are definitely NOT in the mood for romance.

  6. Jean says:

    I dated a Swiss man, who introduced me to raclette. He had a raclette oven that melted the cheese in little individual pans. So yummy and very easy. We ate it just as you describe, with potatoes and cured meats.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Jean, I don’t have a Swiss man but I do have a British one who once had a Swiss Aupair, which is how is parents wound up with a big Raclette machine (a gift from the aupair one Christmas) which is how it is that I am treated to raclette whenever I find myself in the UK. I so look forward to it, even if we do make it at home. There’s something extra special about sitting around the table with a bunch of people and that firey machine that just makes it so much more special. I’ve never had it tabletop as you describe. I hope to try it some time.

      • Jean says:

        Thanks so much for responding! The same man taught me his family recipe for fondue – so delicious. I am enjoying your fondue week!

        • Christine Pittman says:

          Thanks Jean! Our Fondue week has been such fun. We have more coming too so stay tuned :)

  7. Susi says:

    Love this. We are big cheese eaters here and growing up in Germany it seems just what you do… :)
    Susi recently posted: Where Do They Store That Energy? {Wordless Wednesday}

    • Christine Pittman says:

      I remember eating a lot of cheese when I was in Germany. And asparagus. I was there in June. Oh, and pasta. And spaetzle. It was delightful.

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