Raclette is a Swiss cheese that’s specially engineered to melt. This makes it the exact opposite of Queso para freir, a Latino cheese that’s specially engineered to not melt. Raclette is aggressively smelly until it melts, at which point it becomes delectable.
The classic thing to do with raclette is to toast it in front of a fire, scraping off the top layer as it melts, and serve that over French bread with bits of ham, other nibbles, and little cornichon pickles.
I don’t have a fireplace, and anyway it’s midsummer in New York; but melted raclette is still yummy stuff.
Peppers with Raclette, Raclette with Peppers
2 small or 1/2 each of two large bell peppers
1/3 - 1/2 pounds of raclette, roughly sliced
two-thirds or so of a fresh baguette
a nice white Chardonnay, chilled
a couple of tablespoons of butter
dried crumbled oregano
coarsely ground black pepper
Slice the peppers medium-finely, cut them across a few times so they won’t behave like pasta, toss the butter into a good nonstick pan, and toss the peppers in after it. Saute, stirring occasionally. Dose well with salt, black pepper, and crumbled oregano. Meanwhile, slice up the raclette. When the peppers have gone limp and aren’t throwing off enough liquid to indefinitely protect themselves from scorching, toss a half-cup or more of Chardonnay on top of them, stirring a bit. While that simmers, cut up the bread into thick slices and arrange them closely on a serving plate. When so much liquid has evaporated that the peppers are only ankle-deep in it, throw in the raclette. Stir a few times while it’s melting. Meanwhile, pour a couple of glasses of the Chardonnay. When the raclette is all melted, pour it out evenly over the rounds of bread. Eat soon, while drinking Chardonnay.
(Patrick, I didn’t use up all the raclette. I can make this for you when you get home from Clarion.)