Raclette is made, however, with a very particular kind of VERY STINKY cheese, which can be a challenge to find depending on where you shop. (Trader Joe’s used to stock it, but I haven’t been there in ages so I have no idea if they still do… or if it’s soy-feed-free… the last time we had raclette, it was after finding some REALLY STINKY cheese — that was obviously imported from a small-batch maker in Switzerland, thus pretty reliably 100% grass-fed — while exploring Jungle Jim’s massive cheese selection when we visited Cincinnati a month or so ago.) So for our family, raclette is a rare, and yummy, treat.
The craziest thing is, tho, that as foul as this cheese smells (I mean, I do NOT want to eat it raw — and I’ve tried — AND I love REALLY STRONG cheese — but raw raclette cheese is still something I don’t want to eat — and you’ve seen the kind of crazy stuff I will eat!), when you heat it up and get it all gooey and bubbly and browned, it tastes ah-mazing.
Additionally, raclette is supposed to be made with a very specific type of raclette maker. However, I find that making it in a really hot, heavy cast iron skillet, and sticking it under a very hot, preheated broiler works almost as well. It’s not ideal, but I’m not going to invest in a specialty raclette maker with as rarely as I make this dish — or find the right kind of cheese for it!!
Basically the procedure for raclette (sans raclette-maker) is:
- Pre-slice your cheese and enough vegetables and meat to cover the bottom of your skillet in one layer. (I think I had about 3 peppers and about 4-5″ square of lardo, sliced, and 1/4 lb of cheese, sliced, for the version you see above in the picture.)
- Pan fry your veggies/meat on high heat in a little extra fat (although if you’re using lardo, or bacon, this won’t be necessary) in the skillet on the stove top. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once veggies are tender/meat is cooked, place cheese slices evenly over the veggies.
- Put pan under pre-heated broiler, and broil until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
- Carefully remove from the oven, serve, and eat!
Seriously, it is really that easy!
A lot of raclette recipes call for fried or boiled potatoes, but if you’re doing GAPS/lo-carb/Paleo and are avoiding potatoes, there’s absolutely no reason you need them. Though they do soak up some of the grease that accumulates in the pan. (That’s really the kicker with not eating starches, isn’t it? I mean, there’s only so much grease that most non-starchy veggies can soak up … well, aside from eggplant!)
You can try all sorts of veggies with this procedure, but my favorite by far is red/yellow/orange peppers (not green ones! but then again, I don’t like those!), it just works so well with the cheese as a flavor combination. The addition of lardo strips definitely upped the deliciousness of this combo, tho!
The key to making this work is finding the REALLY STINKY raclette cheese tho — I suppose you could make this with a different kind of cheese, but I don’t think it would be the same… you’d probably have to experiment with some different types of semi-soft cheeses to find one that worked well — has anyone tried this procedure with a different type of cheese? How does it work?
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