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Having a Swiss raclette meal has always been a treat in our house reserved for birthdays and special occasions. Apart from being a delicious feast, it’s a very sociable meal full of novelty and fun, just perfect for entertaining and always a favourite with the kids.
A raclette is really just and indoor grill and can be used to cook anything you’d normally put on a barbecue, but the real swiss flavour of the meal comes from melting raclette cheese in the little pans and trickling it over your potatoes.
Our good friend Anja, who is in fact Swiss herself introduced us to this traditional meal, so we were lucky to be shown the real deal, and find out how to eat swiss raclette style the authentic way.
For many years we had a machine with a typical non-stick grill top, but it was always a real pain to get clean and so when it was time to upgrade, I chose the stone top model, hoping that it would improve matters. I must say I’m delighted with it, not only is it so much easier to care for, it’s holds the heat very well making it much more efficient.
Since everyone does their own cooking, there’s not a lot to do, the only work is in the preparation of ingredients. Heat the grill up for 20 mins or so and start off with some bacon lardons, which add flavour and stop things sticking.
For a first course, king prawns wrapped in a little prosciutto and threaded on bamboo skewers take only a few minutes to toast on each side, and they’re so tasty.
Once the grill is nice and hot, load up the little pans with some sliced raclette cheese. If you can’t find raclette, then swiss gruyere does a good job too. Melt the cheese until it toasts lightly on top, and then pour it over plain boiled, new potatoes. It’s traditional to serve with small silver-skin pickled onions, baby cornichons and sprinkled lightly with paprika. The flavours meld beautifully when you mash the cheese and potatoes together.
For the main course, slivers of marinaded sirloin steak go down particularly well, and soak up the salty juices from the lardons beautifully. Serve the steak along-side the cheesy potatoes with a simple green salad, and if you like you can throw on some sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes to accompany the steak.
It’s a meal that get’s everyone pitching in and can get quite noisy and competitive when it comes to the last bit of steak, but it’s always great fun and very delicious.
Ingredients for Swiss Raclette For 4 people
50g bacon lardons
16 king prawns
1oog proscuitto or parma ham and bamboo skewers
500g new potatoes boiled plain in their skins. (charlotte variety would be perfect)
350g raclette cheese (gruyere works well too)
4 medium sirloin steaks, cut into 2 inch strips
marinaded the steak 50 ml olive oil, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 50 ml balsamic vinegar
sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary, salt and pepper.
A handful of cherry tomatoes and sliced mushrooms.
Silverskin onions, cornichons and paprika.