Thursday, March 12, 2009

Swissish

Lacking the Swiss chalet covered with snow, the roaring fire and, incidentally, the fireplace, still I wanted to try making raclette, a dish made classically by melting cheese next to a fire and scraping the lovely, now-gooey stuff onto warm potatoes. Sounds heavenly, doesn't it?

When my pal Sari and I were at Market Hall in Oakland, we visited the cheese shop where I spied a handsome wedge of raclette. It smelled wonderful, nutty like Swiss cheese but a little smellier, earthier. Here was my chance to try raclette.

Once I got home, however, and the girly thrill of brunch and shopping wore off a bit, I realized that My Beloved would ask, when served raclette, "Where's the meat?" Meals are not meals to him if they don't contain some serious animal protein and no amount of explaining that cheese is exactly that will convince him.

Then I remembered that he had bought some Irish back bacon when he was last at the store (I love sending him to the store - he always brings home stuff I would never think of buying) so I thought to add that to the classic spud-and-cheese raclette recipe.

I boiled some chunked red potatoes while the back bacon sizzled in the iron frying pan, removing the bacon when it was lightly browned and cutting it into bite-sized pieces. When the potatoes were tender, I drained and tossed them in the frying pan, stirring them around to coat with the small amount of bacon fat (back bacon is very lean compared to belly bacon), then topped them with the bacon and thick slices of the raclette cheese. Under the broiler to melt and lightly brown the cheese, and less than five minutes later we sat down to an amazing meal.

The potatoes made a wonderful undercarriage for the salty bacon and earthy, unctuous cheese. It's simple food, hearty and sustaining. Makes you wish you were Swiss, or at least had spent all day schussing down the slopes.

Years ago we tore out our fireplace in favor of a sweeping view of the bay and we rarely miss it; last night might have been one of those times. We'd still have been missing the snow and the chalet, however, so we lit the candles and called that good enough.


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7 Comments:

Blogger Anna Haight said...

Did you have the pickled onions and cornichons with it? I made it more before my Dad moved in, and used the mircowave to melt the cheese. I'm sure the bacon was a very delicious add!

Thursday, March 12, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I damn well would have plugged in the space heater and eaten dinner next to it.
You made a beautiful meal.

Thursday, March 12, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Anna, well, yes and no. Cornichons, yes, but we didn't have the pickled onions (we aren't martini drinkers), so I subbed some nice olives from Sonoma.

Cookiecrumb, sadly, no space heater but I supposed we could have opened the oven door, if it wasn't so desperately in need of a cleaning...

Friday, March 13, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

I too find the simple act of adding a little bacon cheers a vegetable-saddened bloke righ up :)

Friday, March 13, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Also, we put olives in our martinis!

Friday, March 13, 2009  
Blogger katiez said...

We love having 'raclette' parties in front of the fire in winter (not this year), but mon mari is exactly like yours... where's the meat. The French do their raclette with slice dry-cured ham, salami, and chorizo... that seems to keep him happy. Yours looks yummy!

Sunday, March 15, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Morgan, I guess they just really relish the extra protein. And, you're right, it's olives in Martinis - with onions, the drink is called a Gibson, here.

KatieZ, so I wasn't that far off by adding a cured meat. Perfect.

Sunday, March 15, 2009  

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