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July 16, 2007

Peppers and Raclette
Posted by Teresa at 09:50 PM *

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.)

[Recipe Index]

Comments on Peppers and Raclette:
#1 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:35 PM:

Well, that just sounds wonderful. In fact, it sounds like something my ex and I would like to munch during one of the sustenance breaks in Potterfest '07 on Saturday. And it has the benefit of sounding as if I could actually pull it off!

The boy will likely prefer Totino's pizza rolls.

#2 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:45 PM:


My 70s cookbook (the one from which the brains au beurre noir recipe came) has a recipe for Raclette, which consists more or less of "Melt Raclette, scrape up with pickles and potatoes, eat." I thought it sounded highly suspicious. That book is frankly full of highly suspicious recipes. Specifically, I thought pickles with cheese sounded suspicious.

Your version sounds much more delicious.

#3 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2007, 11:52 PM:

The SIL has a raclette grill that she lugged back from Switzerland. In our family it's the late 90s answer to fondue in the 70s.

But, c'mon. It's melted cheese and toast with snacks. What's not to like?

#4 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:05 AM:

Caroline at #2:

Specifically, I thought pickles with cheese sounded suspicious.

I heartily agree. This sentence, though, is fabulous, if you set aside the thoughts of cheesy pickles. It sounds like a starter for a writing contest. It makes me want to write a murder mystery.

#5 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:15 AM:

I'm curious - does the Raclette become smelly again as it cools? Or does heating it permanently alter it?

#6 ::: Doug Faunt ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 01:11 AM:

I recall being told that raclette was THE right cheese for fondue- which thought is making my mouth water as I type.

#7 ::: russell ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 01:15 AM:

Oh, don't destroy your nice dish with Chardonnay! Find something from where raclette is made...(googles) Carrel, Eugene 2004 Roussette de Savoie Altesse, from a wine shop in Manhattan called Chambers Street...$13.99 (I have nothing to do with this commercially, and live on the other side of the world--just hate to see good food mangled by the wrong wine!)

#8 ::: Karen Schaffer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 01:28 AM:

Caroline #2

scrape up with pickles and potatoes

No, really, traditional raclette is served with potatoes and cornichons, but the cheese is scraped with the potatoes, not the pickles. I must say, though, that scraping cheese, even well melted, with cooked potatoes is not easy, but who am I to question tradition? Should be served with jambon cru as well, a ham for which we have no equivalent here.

#9 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 01:59 AM:

Actually, the clasisc thing to do is serve it melted on boiled potatoes. Or so my Swiss grandmother believed.

#10 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:31 AM:

That is a beautiful recipe, though I think I'll be skipping the bell peppers. Or maybe I'll replace them with something else. Any suggestions?

Normally we just slice the Raclette thinly, lay out the slices on a non-stick pan, and microwave for about 45 seconds. Use crackers, melba toast, or croutons (which you can make using same microwave) to scoop up the melted cheese. It's a simple preparation but still enjoyable.

Gruyere is also good for melting, but it comes out oilier than Raclette.

I love cheese.

#11 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:40 AM:

Oh, yum.

Any time you need a fireplace to toast your raclette, we have one.

And is this the Highly Secret Redacted Thingy you've been working on? Hmmm?

#12 ::: Tom Barclay ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:45 AM:

Caroline @2 - Cheese. Pickle. Bread. Ale. The classic 'plowman's lunch' of the British Isles.

Is there anything wrong with melting the cheese first? You'd probably like it with the right kind of pickle - cornichons rather than big lumpy dill cukes.

#13 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 03:21 AM:

Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin approve....

#14 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 04:13 AM:

Ack! Gruyere! Raclette! How am I now going to be able to concentrate during the day without sating my cravings for good swiss cheese?

#15 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 07:10 AM:

Yum... will have to try it that way, got that nice raw feel to it.

If you want to do yourself some raclette fondue, but do not own a fireplace, they make pretty nice machines for that:
- The "traditional" one (for purists ^_^) which directly takes half a cheeese, and I guess feels more authentic.
- The "modern" grill version with small spatulas (strange to me that this seems to be the word used in english), more generally used though you have to cut the cheese in small slices beforehand.

[Don't recommend any of the online shops and products here, just took those for the pictures]

By the way, pickles (and otherwise acidic stuff) are traditionally used as accompaniment with fondue, taken between cheese intakes, to help with digestion. At least that's the argument given.

Also, as far as white wine is concened, my parents tend to prefer either a Chasselass or a Sauternes to go with raclette, though I can't judge here, since I can't drink alcohol (secret familly shame).

Sigh... every time I think of posting a recipe here I realize how lacking my english culinary vocabulary truly is.
Will have to work on it.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 07:49 AM:

Caroline (2): Potatoes. That was the bit I forgot. They eat Raclette on potatoes. I'd rather have it on bread.

Pickles and pickle relishes go very well with cheese. Sharp cheddar with a little Branston Pickle is just unbeatable. For lunch or dinner on summer weekends I sometimes lay out a tray with a couple of kinds of crackers, three or four kinds of cheese, nibbling-size pieces of raw vegetables, and little dishes of every kind of pickle in the refrigerator. Patrick never complains.

Mary Dell (5), it's permanently altered. The strong smell doesn't come back, but it also doesn't re-melt the way it did the first time.

If I hadn't had raclette (with Jo and Emmett and Sasha, in Montreal), I wouldn't know what all the fuss was about: melted cheese, big deal. It's like the time I served ricotta over sweetened fruit to a dinner party of fans that included Lise Eisenberg. She hadn't had real ricotta before, but she'd seen recipes saying that if you don't have ricotta, you can substitute cottage cheese, and she'd assumed it was comparable. "Damn it," she said. "After this I'm always going to want ricotta."

Doug (6), the existence of raclette makes fondue make sense. Makes it seem inevitable, even.

Russell (7), it was a bottle of Three-Buck Chuck out of the refrigerator, and it tasted just fine. I should have just said "a decent dry white wine," and avoided scandalizing you.

Antukin (10): Chopped green onions or leeks with a little ham would work, though it would be a very different dish. Or, I hypothesize, you could saute some finely sliced shallots in butter until things start to brown, then throw in some peeled sliced tart apples, give them one stir, throw in the raclette to melt, and eat it fast before the apples turn mushy and sweet. I don't know. If I were using something other than peppers, I'd have contrived a different dish.

Mad (11), I'll happily come admire your fireplace, though I'd rather do the cooking in your kitchen.

MD2 (15), don't worry about your technical cooking vocabulary. We can cope.

#17 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 08:42 AM:

I am convinced. I will have to try it with the right kind of pickles.

I also thought the idea of scraping up cheese with cooked potatoes sounded odd, but I figured you'd use a fork or knife to sort of scrape them up together.

#18 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Caroline @ 2

Mild dill pickles might be good, if the cheese is salty like Gruyere but not sour like Ermenthaler or some such. And potatoes? That's just Finger Potatoes Au Gratin. Sweet pickles? I don't think so.

#19 ::: Bill Altreuter ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:51 AM:

One of my happiest travel memories includes sitting at a long table in a Swiss inn somewhere, drinking wine, eating Raclette and cornichons, telling lies and laughing with a group of new friends. I didn't know you could get the cheese in the US, and now I'm going to have to hunt it down

#20 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:55 AM:


I'm just wondering--how did this post get a [REDACTED] logo?

#21 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:58 AM:

Redacted? Say what?

#22 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Redacted? Say what?

I assume it's a reference to a thread Patrick started over here, whereby statements of your recent actions had been redacted. It was a bit of a running joke on that thread. I think we're still in the dark about what, exactly, you've been up to.

#23 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 10:58 AM:

Redacted? Say what?

I assume it's a reference to a thread Patrick started over here, whereby statements of your recent actions had been redacted. It was a bit of a running joke on that thread. I still don't know what, exactly, you were up to that had to be blotted from the record, though maybe I missed it.

#24 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:03 AM:

Well, Patrick said you were working on [REDACTED], which you planned to announce shortly, so I figured this had to be it, even though it didn't seem deserving of a redaction.

It's killing us to wait to find out, especially those of us who think we know what you're doing.

#25 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:08 AM:

MD^2, for you, being French and all, to allow that the English even have a cooking vocabulary, is a major advance in international relations. I salute you!

#26 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Oh, right (smacks forehead). Can you tell the recent technical problems have left me jumpy?

#27 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Hum... you've asked for it, from the family vaults:

Potatoes (I'd advise using rosevals, though my mother prefers to use some belles de Fontenay. Basicaly any kind who'll retain a certain firmness once boiled.) 2 kg
Abondance (or emmental) 300g
Beaufort 300g
Cantal 200g
Lardons 400g
Cream (real cream, none of those "light" stuff please) 125g
Duck fat/olive oil (My makers curse me for sometime using the later in lieu of the former. You've been warned.)
1 big onion
Dry white wine (I'd say around 1 dl)

- Peel and boil the potatoes. The idea is that you don't want them to be perfectly cooked yet. Cut them in rather thick slices.
- Coat a casserole (just to be sure I'm not inducing a mistake here) with the butter and garlic
- Using the duck fat, cook the lardons with a frying pan on low heat (you want to soften the meat, not brown it as in a sauté). Take them off the pan and into the casserole. Keep the juice.
- Use remaining juice to do the same with the onion cut into slivers. Take them off the pan and into the casserole. Keep the juice.
- Saute the potatoes in the remainning juice with added salted wine, let them cook till the wine as been absorbed. Put them in the casserole along with the lardons and onion. Pepper to taste.
- Heat up the oven
- Put the cheese cut in slices on top in the casserole (you might want to reduce the crust a bit, but don't take it all off, that's where the best part of the cheese is after all). Top with the cream.
- Put the casserole covered with some aluminium paper in the oven for roughly twenty minutes. Take the aluminum off and leave it in for around ten more minutes (you want the cheese to remain creamy rather than become crusty).
- Serve.

Pretty easy to cook, real nice if you like cheese, and you have the satisfaction of making people gain weight just by looking at it. What more to ask ?

Feels like I'm forgeting something... grumble.

@Dave Luckett (#25): *blush*
Words elude me. They always do. Need to build a trap.
Gotta catch them all.

#28 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:38 PM:

My boyfriend grew up in Switzerland...he has a Raclette melt the cheese in little trays on the bottom and then toast or fry various things on top...

It's wonderful...:)

#29 ::: linnen ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:45 PM:

On the subject, I managed to find this cookbook recently.

Black Forest Cuisine

More gausthaus oriented than home cooking, but the recipes do make be very nostalgic.

#30 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:45 PM:

All the talk of cornichons immediately brought this song to mind. Fantastic with saucisson sec and good crusty bread.

Curiously though, I've never seen them served with raclette. Round here (Brittany) customs seem to vary, but the basics of a soiree raclette are potatoes boiled in their skins, mixed charcuterie (chorizo, different kinds of ham, French bacon - supermarkets sell packs specifically for raclette) and the cheese itself. Good solid winter food: we generally drink red with it.

Incidentally, "raclette" is also the word for the thing you use to scrape ice off the windscreen of a car: after you've spent enough time trying to get burnt-on cheese off the little grill pans, the association of ideas becomes quite powerful.

#31 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Now that you've got me thinking about smelly cheese, I'm googling around to see if I can find an image from Asterix in Corsica, in which smelly cheese is a running theme. The best I could find was this, where you can see Obelix holding Dogmatix up away from the smell.

BUT! I found a blog with awesome pictures of Asterix and Tintin collectibles.

Also, I see that apparently the Corsica story included a send-up of Napoleon (it would have to, I suppose), which I didn't realize when I was a kid.

#32 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:49 PM:

For those worried about the health implications of all this cheese-eating, at the Scientific American story where I was reading the rather gruesome story pointed to in the 'Trauma & U, Pt 2: Shock' comments, I noticed another one, with the headline Dairy lovers show lower metabolic syndrome risk. Useful for persuasion, perhaps? Good grief, there's even a whole website called!

There's another story there that uses two of my current pet hated words: trialed and surveilled, but which has other disturbing aspects too, and another about the shortage of dissecting cadavers in British medical schools that might spark a few ideas ...

#33 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 02:52 PM:

Teresa@26: Can you tell the recent technical problems have left me jumpy?

Hard to say. I can tell that you still managed to avoid mentioning what was actually redacted. And for some reason I have this image of you saying something to the effect of "Even if I was the thing, I assure you the game will be much more interesting if I'm allowed to keep playing."


#34 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 05:02 PM:

They can engineer cheese now? How long has this been going on...?

#35 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 05:32 PM:

My question is where does one get a degree in Cheese Engineering? Is it a Culinary Technology or Technological Cuisine degree? Are there other food engineering degrees offered? I'd like to major in chocolate, please.

#36 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 05:47 PM:

Greg (33): Was I wrong?

#37 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Was I wrong?

No, it was definitely more interesting. I seem to remember watching the last half of the game from the sidelines, and was rolling on the floor laughing as you managed to change the subject away from the question... heywaitasecond, you're doing it again!


#38 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Dawno@35 - :-) I believe one of the colleges at the University of London offers a degree course on the Nanoscale Properties of Mutton And Its Uses In The Production Of Fullerenes. But I could be wrong.

#39 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Let's see; she's wanting to distract us with warm, runny, melty cheese and 'taters and pickle. Therefore the truth must lay in the opposite direction.

*Gasp!* What is that?

#40 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Cold, firm, frozen chalk would have to be the opposite of warm, runny, melty cheese. I'm not feeling any more illuminated.

#41 ::: linnen ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 08:27 PM:

Instead of chalk, just use 'non-' or 'reduced-fat' / 'low moisture' cheese.

About the biggest blasphemy that I can think of these days is NOT using real whole milk mozzarella cheese on pizza. The difference is night and day.

#42 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 08:53 PM:

Okay, so it's either chalk or 'reduced-fat' / 'low moisture' cheese.

Then why in hell is it walking?

#43 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2007, 09:36 PM:

Caroline@2: I agree with several answers, with the addition that I'd be wary of that book. Especially second TNH's note on Branston pickle, which is a sweet/sharp combination like the gherkins favored with raclette.

Doug@6: Raclette in fondue? Another suspicious book! Every version I've seen says 50/50 Gruyere/Emmental, shifting toward Gruyere if you want it sharper. (Crosslink to another thread: most fondue recipes also call for a dash of kirschwasser.) And I had a mixture of English cheddar and aged Gouda, relieved with a Clausen's kosher dill slice, before coming to the terminal; I wouldn't have them in the same mouthful but they alternate wonderfully.

russell@7: whassamatter, don't they have any Swiss wines? (One of the first amazing sights from our Confiction trip was the vines terraced into the basalt steeps of the north shore of Lake Geneva: a row or two of vines, another couple of rows several meters up -- must be a bear to tend and harvest.)

Karen@8: a local shop uses "speck", described as a strong German ham; I keep meaning to get there when they're serving (Saturday winter lunches only, and not all of those) and haven't yet.

#44 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:59 AM:

Haven't tried pickles with cheese, but am now intrigued, thanks to the acidity and digestion factor mentioned in #15.

Another good companion is grapes. The tartness of the skin and the sweetness of the meat goes well with cheese, especially the sharper ones. I love seedless grapes with a chunk of Cambozola or Gorgonzola (both are smelly, blue cheese types by the way).

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:08 AM:

Dawno @ 35

That's the field of Condensed Food Physics.

#46 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:11 AM:

This thread could have been titled "Behold, the pourer of cheese!"

#47 ::: Jörg R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:43 AM:

CHip @ 43: Well, speck in Germany and Austria is simply bacon - somtimes sliced thin, sometimes used in small blocks, sometimes in big chunks (in a stew, when used for the flavor it gives to the broth). Like bacon, it is taken from the back or belly of a pig.

But there seems to be a definition that describes speck as part of the hind leg. If that is right, the meaning has indeed changed when the word entered the English language.

BTW, there is a kind of cheese called Bördespeck, a creamy yellow cheese with a brown crust that is smoke-cured.

And regarding strange cheeses: The Sardinians seem to have outdone the Corsicans, and the Thuringians followed closely.


#48 ::: Del ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 12:09 PM:

Don't Americans have pickles and/or relish in their cheeseburgers, albeit with ground beef in between? It's the same thing going on, all around the world.

Two things I like to do with cheese sandwiches: pickled onions cut into slices with Cheddar, and mango chutney with Stilton.

Dave: I've never experienced actual English Food prejudice from real French people, only from North Americans and Australians.

#49 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:19 PM:

Chip #43, Jorg #47:

When I buy speck at the local (central Texas) mercato di fancifoods, it resembles smoked prosciutto. It is made in the Alto Adige, also known as the Italian Tyrol. Now they do indeed have a population of higher-than-normal (for Italy) Germanic descent, but this stuff is strictly Italian.

And very very good. Just make sure you don't keep it more than a month; the breakdown products smell rather like a catbox.

I first met it while living in Venice; it kept showing up on acquaintances' pizzas. Now, when I go to buy it, the people behind the counter always ask me where I learned about it.

#50 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 01:21 PM:

Del #48: mango chutney with Stilton

Around here, I can get white stilton with mangos and ginger already mixed in. Great to crumble over a salad, as well as for snacking.

#51 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 07:09 PM:

My life has had about 17% more meaning and purpose since I was introduced to Tete de Moine* in 1999 by a waiter at an overpriced restaurant who was obnoxious enough to qualify as a caricature of himself. The cheese should be sliced thin enough to see through and allowed to melt on one's tongue, ideally with a girolle.

*I have no financial interest in the link above, I'm just trying to increase the level of joy in the world.

#52 ::: Jörg R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 08:01 PM:

Scott H @ 51:
The nearest wholesaler not only offers Tete de Moine cheese and girolles, but also different cylinders of Swiss chocolate (milk chocolate, m/c and white, m/c and pistache) that are made to fit on a girolle and be scraped or shaved off in very thin locks. It's apparently en vogue in some restaurants here around.
I assume you have to decide whether you use a given girolle for cheese or chocolate.

#53 ::: Patch Mulberry ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 09:27 PM:

I like this site. You folks are full of quirky knowledge.

#54 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 10:26 PM:

To Jörg at #47 re strange cheeses: Ewwwwww.

Being aware that people do consume the strangest things, I wasn't surprised to read that. And we actually have comparable "foods" around these parts (not elaborating in case those with delicate constitutions are reading this), so I'm not really casting aspersions here.

Still. Just wanted to react ;)

#55 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Last night, some national news program mentioned that Bush Baby's very very favorite food is "cheeseburger pizza." Though it's apparently hand-made, the cheese is probably Amurrican.

#56 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Re: cheeseburger pizza

That's probably a pizza with ground beef, cheddar cheese, and just a hint of tomato sauce on it. I doubt it has any of them European cheeses on it.


#57 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 10:56 AM:

Cheeseburger pizza sounds pretty grim. Dammit, if only it had been deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we might have a new POTUS by now...

#58 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 11:17 AM:

This summer I've been enjoying my slices of a firm flavorful cheese (anything with a texture like manchego) with watermelon. Not necessarily the best when eaten in the same mouthful, but good together anyways.

Also, Jörg@47, you've given me a few new goals in life. If I slip the people at Murray's or Joe's Dairy a few extra bucks do you think they could get me something similar?

#59 ::: Liz B ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 04:39 PM:

I recently had a "salad" comprised of tiny watermelon cubes, similarly-sized ricotta salata cubes, pine nuts, and basil. Surprisingly tasty.

#60 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Watermelon salad made of watermelon cubes, feta cheese, and fresh basil is possibly the most delicious thing I've ever eaten.

#61 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 07:37 PM:

...aaaand I had meant to say "ricotta salata and pine nuts sounds delicious, too." Either way I guess it was pretty pointless. Don't mind me.

#62 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2007, 08:04 PM:

Jörg (47), next time, please label things like that "link not safe while eating."

Personally, I don't mind finding out about casu marzu, since I'm never, ever, ever going to eat any; but I seriously regret scrolling further down and finding the bit about mimolette, which is one of my favorite cheeses.

Patch (53), thank you. That's a pretty good description of the place.

#63 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 05:51 AM:

ajay@57 - everyone here has probably heard about it already, but apparently there are certain chip-shops in Scotland where you can buy deep-fried pizza.

#64 ::: Jörg R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:28 AM:

Eew - while I read this blog* for a few years now, with my first post I have managed to gross out the hostess. Teresa, please take my excuses. I hadn´t followed that link to the seemingly innocent Mimolette - of which I myself have eaten quite a bit over the years, If I identify it correctly. There seem to be quite a lot of orange pumpkin-like cheeses in Belgium and northern France.

*Which really is a place full of quirky knowledge and wisdom.

#65 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:45 AM:

Dave Hutchinson @63:
apparently there are certain chip-shops in Scotland where you can buy deep-fried pizza.

My local (for the moment) one certainly will sell you one. I have never been drunk enough to try one.

#66 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 11:49 AM:

abi - how about deep-fried Mars Bars?

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Is this where I (again?) bring up the deep-fried Twinkies?

#68 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:09 PM:

Dave @66
abi - how about deep-fried Mars Bars?

Never been drunk enough to try that either.

Basically, Scottish chippies are small businesses. You can walk in and say, "please sell me a deep fried Mars bar, pizza, apple, sprig of rosemary, stick of chewing gum, etc, etc," and they'll name a price and do it (you will probably have to supply your own apple or rosemary).

Why not? They're not the NHS; it's not their business to say whether it's good for you to eat it.

The real question is: will they offer you salt and [sauce/vinegar]* with it?

* it's an east coast/west coast distinction which you get offered as standard

#69 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:13 PM:

#63: I know, I'm from Scotland. When people say that sort of thing I tend to shut my eyes and mutter "penicillinradarasphaltsteamenginetelevision- HumeScottBellStevensonMaxwellKelvinNapierLindSimpson" in order not to feel completely depressed about my home country.

#70 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:15 PM:

Serge @67
Is this where I (again?) bring up the deep-fried Twinkies?

Well, I wouldn't expect you to keep them down.

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:17 PM:

abi... Would they go so far as deep-frying hardboiled eggs?

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:21 PM:

abi @ 70... I was wondering if someone would make that joke. I should have know you would. By the way, while one's stomach might rebel at ingesting deep-fried Twinkies, doesn't such a delicacy have a built-in adhesive factor that would keep it down there? No, I'm not so devoted to the Pursuit of Knowledge that I'm willing to experiment with my own body.

#73 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:25 PM:

Serge @71:
Honestly, Serge, if it isn't going to poison the oil * or blow up and kill the guy frying it, they'll fry it.

* through its coating of batter...most of these things are dipped in batter before frying. Just like the fish, haggis, black pudding, white pudding, and sausages on the rest of the menu†.

† Yes, including the pizza and the Mars bars‡.

‡ Yes. Really.

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:30 PM:

abi... Deep-fried haggis? Urp.

#75 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Serge @74
Deep-fried haggis? Urp.

Now, that I have had. It's very good - they use a good haggis, and the batter goes well with the dark spicy flavour of the inside.

But it occurs to me that the people who denigrate deep-fried Mars bars do them for two simultaneous reasons:
1. They might be absolutely awful.
2. They might be wonderful, and then where are you?*

Best to avoid it altogether.
* Torn between the social pressures and the tearful pleas of your doctor and a hopeless passion for the food you love, hating yourself as you love's the stuff of tragedy, really.

#76 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Serge @ 71

Go look up 'Scotch Eggs' in a cookbook or encyclopedia.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:43 PM:

abi @ 75... it's the stuff of tragedy, really

Methinks it's time for you to give us a sonnet about the Tragedy of MarsBar, Prince of Cholesterol.

#78 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:49 PM:

Serge @77:

11 days before an international move, with a house to pack, a week of work, and kids to care for in the meantime?

Not tonight, Josephine.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 12:58 PM:

Abi @ 78... Today's young people... They seem to think that sleep is something that one can't do without. Bah!

In spite of that, my best wishes to you and your family, Abi.

#80 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Abi, 78: On the contrary, my dear--this is exactly the time for a sonnet about the Prince of Cholesterol.

#81 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Go for it, TexAnne.

#82 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Scotch Eggs - one of many reasons I've always wanted to visit Scotland.

ajay - I have my copy of How the Scots Invented the Modern World in the stack of books next to my bed, and it is a fine read.

If you're country has anything to apologize for, I'd put golf on the list long before deep fried candies.

#83 ::: Ben Engelsberg ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Mmmm... fond memories of raclette, sitting in a little restaurant in Basel, just off the market square, scraping up melted cheese with slices of fresh pear, just lightly dressed with a bit of kirschwasser.

As for the deep-fried phenomena, we have a bar here in Tucson called the Surly Wench, which boasts that they'll deep fry pretty much anything. Including office supplies on at least one occasion. I have yet to convince myself that trying the deep-fried Mars bar is worth giving up the year of my life it will probably cost me, though.

#84 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2007, 10:38 PM:

Serge, #71, I just threw out a recipe for Scotch Eggs. Want me to go get it and type it to you?

Wednesday's WashPost Food section had a recipe for Grilled Watermelon Salad.

#85 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 04:27 PM:

I checked the Extremely Deli Cheese section in my supermarket this morning (cheese bar, next to (a) sandwich and sushi bar and (b) coffee and tea bar). They have raclette! (wedges cut from wheel and wrapped)

#86 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Comment #85 made me realise: I gave my recipe because I thought it was a nice, easy to do, fondue variation, but I forgot the cheese might not be easy to come by for some, which makes it rather useless.
Stupid me.

Oh, and to mix with the "10-minute meals" from the Open Thread, and since that's what I did tonight: A St Felicien with some bread, raisins, prunes and Parma ham.

#87 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 08:49 PM:


Given that the Extremely Deli Cheese section has all the expensive (mostly imported) cheeses, including the less usual ones like 'Roaring 40s' Blue, raclette is almost expected. They didn't put up any recipes, though.

#88 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2007, 10:16 PM:

MD2, 86: when you say "raisins and prunes," do you mean "raisins et prunes" or "grapes and plums"?

Boy, do I wish I could get St Felicien around here.

#89 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2007, 04:12 AM:

I, of course, meant grapes and plum.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have to practice a cleansing ritual to cast the shame away, one that'll presumably include sharp things, a platypus and loads, loads of toothpaste... maybe even some half-naked singing of Annie Cordy (don't go there, you've been warned) while running down the street.
With luck I won't have to go that far.

#90 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 09:47 PM:

Abi, #75: Having had actual good haggis on my most recent trip to Scotland, I believe you. (Aside to the disbelieving: Haggis, done right, turns out to be what meat loaf will be on the other side of the Singularity.)

But what I really wanted to report was that, home from Clarion, I've now partaken of the recipe detailed in the post atop this thread. And It Was Good.

#91 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2009, 02:47 PM:

*Burp* Chanced upon this tnh concoction after exploring the archives, popped over to the grocery to grab some raclette, bell peppers and a baguette, and made this*.

It was very very nummy.

*actually, a variation thereof. Sparkling dry white wine, and some slices of smoked ham on the bread as well.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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