8 Best Raclette Grills | April 2017
- convenient on-off switch
- feels a little flimsy
- under powered 500w heating element
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- rust-resistant steel components
- pan handles stay cool to the touch
- only comes with two spatulas
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- dishwasher safe grill plate
- heats up quickly
- lightweight base
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
- lets fats drip away from the meat
- more versatile than most others
- compact circular shape
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
- makes a fun meal centerpiece
- even heating throughout
- melts cheese very quickly
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
- eight cheese pans
- one-year warranty
- power indicator light
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
- powerful 1200w heating element
- simple rotary control knob
- easy to disassemble for cleaning
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
- two display configurations
- sturdy and wobble-free base
- reversible grill-griddle
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
What Exactly Is Raclette Anyway?
The first mention of the foodstuff known as raclette can be traced all the way back to the late 13th Century. Various German language texts from locations spread around present day Switzerland mention the dish, which is still enjoyed by locals and tourists alike to this day.
The name raclette is derived from the French word "racler," a verb meaning "to scrape." And indeed the terms is suitable, for at its core, raclette is nothing more than portions of cheese warmed and scraped off of a larger chunk and onto bread or directly onto the plate of the diner. The cheese most often used in raclette dining is a semi-firm cow's milk variety usually prepared in large drum shaped units that weigh as much as six pounds each.
Traditionally, herders working in the mountain fields of the Alps would carry cheese along with them, and at night would warm sections of the cheese by their campfires. Once the cheese had softened to a suitable degree, they would scrape portions of it off and enjoy the softened cheese with bread, potatoes, meats, or with pickled vegetables.
Today, raclette is something of a national dish of Switzerland, and its enjoyment is predicated as much on the ritual of the heating, scraping, and serving of the food as it is on its actual taste. While commonly served at restaurants and even a staple home meal all year round in some European households, the winter holiday season sees a marked increase in the popularity of raclette consumption. The communal nature of a raclette meal, with the hands-on preparation of the cheese and the casual nature of the fare, lends itself to a convivial atmosphere enjoyed by friends and families alike.
A modern raclette meal is infrequently prepared using an open fire, but rather by using an electric grill that allows safe and easy access from 360 degrees, and which can easily be controlled in terms of heat and placement.
Choosing And Using A Raclette Grill
Almost all electric raclette grills will feature two common aspects. First, they will have a large hot plate surface. Second, they will come with multiple diminutive pans known as "coupelles." Into these pans will go the sliced or chunked cheese you (or your host) have provided as well as the various meats, potatoes, traditional gherkins, or other vegetables you wish to mix with your soon to be melted, seared cheese.
Raclette grills are unique from other plug in hotplates or griddles in that they offer an area underneath their heated surface, perfect for roasting cheese until it has browned to perfection. The enclosed area beneath the heated surface allows for perfect heat retention, while also freeing up the top of the unit for roasting meats, grilling vegetables, frying eggs, or for cooking almost any other food you think will taste great with that roasted cheese you're preparing down below.
When choosing a raclette grill, first consider the social aspect of the meals you're likely to make. Many units comes with four coupelles, making them a fine choice for families, small groups of friends, or for a pair of couples. Other larger options come with as many as twelve individual miniature platters, making them great for parties (or for the very large family). These larger options are also useful serving stations for other types of foods, with the upper hot plates great for appetizer and self-serve hors d'oeuvres while the coupelles down below can be used to keep dips or sauces warm and ready for enjoyment.
A Raclette Recipe You're Sure To Love
If you want to try a traditional raclette meal -- without the need for a campfire lit in an alpine pasture, of course -- then you are in for a unique culinary treat. Raclette dining is elegantly simple, wholesome, and satisfying when prepared properly.
A good gourmet shop, especially one that focuses on cheeses, should be able to proffer you a fine raclette cheese, which will be rich, tangy, salty, and delicious. You will need about a pound and a half of this cheese for a meal sure to satisfy four discerning diners.
Boil six to eight medium sized potatoes (leave the skin on) until they are cooked through (and then set them aside in a vessel that will keep them warm).
Meanwhile, you will prepare the platters your diners will soon be ravenously consuming. The meat served with this meal is traditionally a thinly sliced beef, though almost any of your favorite charcuterie options will do just fine. Lay out a few slices of meat on each plate, accompanied by a small pile of pickled gherkins and pickled onions.
Dust everything on the plate with a bit of paprika and black pepper, slice the hot potatoes and add them to the plates, and then bring the diners to the table.
Now, fill each coupelle with a generous slice of cheese and slide them under the heated grill plate. The cheese should be warmed anywhere from three to five minutes depending on each diner's preference (soft, melted, bubbling, or starting to brown and sear).
Then the cheese is scraped onto the plates, often directly atop the meat. The preparation portion of the meal is now finished, and it is time for you and your fellow gourmands to devour this delicious traditional dish.