You may recall that I love Raclette. I think it blows fondue out of the milk! You don't have to worry about hot splash back or losing your chunk in hot lava cheese. Fondue also has limited creativity and combinations. The basic principal is skewer chunk (meat, veggie, fruit, bread) and dip in cheese, oil, or chocolate. It is hard to factor much else into the equation.
Raclette is full of possibilities. You take some Raclette cheese and add anything to it and keep adding different ingredients. You just don't want to pile on so much that the food will be touching the heating element because it will either burn or catch on fire. One trick to Raclette is to forget about it, then you will achieve that golden crunchy cheese yumminess.
I think of Raclette as a winter activity and was very happy to get a cold spell this weekend. We hadn't used our Raclette grill since last winter and I wanted to use it before next winter. We planned a small gathering of about 8 people total. You don't want too many people running around with hot cheese when you have 2 dogs and a baby underfoot. It was fun for everybody to come up different combinations and share "recipes".
The cheeses we had were Raclette as well as Beemster goat Gouda (which is a nice melter) and Robiola Bosina (not a good melter as the fat content is too high). The meats were a goose liver pate, Landjaeger which is a dried hunters sausage, Porchetta which is pork loin wrapped in pancetta, and Finnochionia. There was also crispy kale, olives, marinated mushrooms, portabello mushrooms, cornishons, melba toast, baguette, and of course boiled potatoes. I also offered a selection of salts, smoked Maldon, green herb salt, and a red spice salt.
The standout highlight combination of the night was Raclette with marinated mushrooms and crispy kale. I can't stop thinking of it even though I ate a ton that night. I am gonna put that combination into a grilled cheese. I could even do an open face grilled cheese under the broiler! What a great way to get in your greens.