I’m a firm believer in trying the local cuisine when I travel. Particularly when said cuisine involves lots and lots of potatoes and cheese.
If I get to cook with my friends, all the better.
So, you can imagine how happy I was when, during my trip to Zürich, my friend Ben suggested making raclette.
First, there was the fact that, after spending eight out of ten years on different continents, we were finally on the same onethanks to his generosity and that of his fiancee, we were under the same roof.
Secondly, we would be cooking on his deck, overlooking the alps. Really, the photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice.
And, then, as if all of that wasn’t enough, the cooking involved a kitchen gadget.
By now, my love of such things has been well documented. I’m a frequent haunter of kitchen stores, and event went as far as to ask for a kitchenaid mixer as a birthday gift a few years back instead of getting a big screen tv (which, I maintain, is still one of the smartest decisions that I have made to date).
All of which is a long way of saying that I was bound to be impressed by the raclette machine. Hardly surprising when you consider how easy the meal was to prepareyou boil potatoes, cut up some Gruyere and then go! all while you’re all sitting at the table, enjoying your wine and conversation. Just what vacation eating should be, authentic in its own way.
But, if you’re really, really going for the authentic experience, after you finish your meal, follow it up with lots and lots of Luxemburgeli from Confiserie Sprüngli because both you and your friends have decided to stop on your way home. They are the perfect cookie: small enough to justify eating a few to try all of the flavors, nice enough to show up as a wonderful gift, good enough to eat.
Needless to say, now that I’m back in New York, I’m seriously considering buying my very own raclette machine. I’m also toying with the idea of revising the French Macaron project in a new variation. So, if any of you out there in the blogsphere know how to make a good Luxemburgeli, comment away.
This recipe is meant to be used as a basic technique. Adjust your quantities according to the crowd you’ll be serving.
12-15 small potatoes
3/4 pound gruyere, cut into 1/4″ thick pieces
1 jar cornichons (optional)
1 jar pickled onions (optional)
2 shallots, chopped finely
freshly ground pepper
Scrub the potatoes and boil in salted water, until fully cooked, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and set aside, along with the sliced Gruyere, pickled onions, diced shallots, and cornichons.
When you are ready to eat, heat your raclette machine. Place gruyere on the raclette tray, seasoning with diced shallots, paprika and ground pepper to your taste. Allow to heat for 2-3 minutes, until the Gruyere has melted. Once you remove your Raclette pan from the heat, the melted cheese should slide out easily. Slide it over your potatoes.
Serves 4 as a main course