I’m sure that many of us remember having a fondue pot as the centerpiece of a communal meal. It was all the rage in the ‘70s, and I still remember how much fun it was whenever we would gather around the fondue pot at family dinners.
After reminiscing about those meals recently, I started shopping around for a fondue pot online. I ended up stumbling across an entirely different type of gadget that can be used for a communal meal, which I hadn’t even heard of before that point: the raclette grill.
It reminded me of the tabletop Korean barbecue grill that my second youngest son Kell’s fiancée Aliyah just got for Christmas, combined with the melty, cheesy goodness that a fondue pot provides. So I decided to give this one a try, and I ended up loving it so much that I couldn’t wait to tell you about it in today’s blog post! 🙂
What Is A Raclette Grill?
Raclette is a Swiss dish of melted cheese, which is either scraped onto a plate or over the top of traditional accompaniments like small potatoes, cornichons (gherkins), and dried meat. With a raclette grill, this dish becomes a communal experience that several people can enjoy together!
Most tabletop raclette grills have two levels with a serpentine heating element in between them. The heating element heats both the grilling surface that rests on top of it and the lower level, which holds an array of small pans known as coupelles.
Diners use the top-level grilling surface to grill potatoes, bread, and other foods, and they each gets their own small pan of cheese on the lower level. Once the cheese is melted, it can be scraped or poured over the grilled items and eaten with gusto!
You can see why this little grill appealed to me—it scratches the melted cheese itch I was feeling while reminiscing about fondue pots, but this way everyone gets their own little pan of cheese (so no more worrying about double dipping!) Plus, it also has a grilling surface everyone can use to grill up whatever they like!
Delicious Ideas For A Raclette Grill Meal
You can’t go wrong with a classic raclette night—the classics are classic for a reason, after all! Raclette du Valias cheese is traditional, but any good melting cheese will do. (I used a blend of grated Gruyére, Fontina, and Gouda here.)
If you don’t want to limit yourself to the traditional raclette accompaniments of potatoes, cornichons, bread, etc., consider setting out asparagus, mushrooms, green beans, sausage medallions, or bacon too. Everyone can grill what they like and enjoy a cheesy feast at their own pace.
Taco Night / Build Your Own Nachos
Don’t be afraid to depart from raclette traditions entirely. I think a taco night or nacho bar would be an excellent use of a raclette grill, and I can’t wait to do it for a family dinner!
You could use the grill for sliced vegges (fajita-style) and meats like chicken or carne asada, and everyone can use their pans to heat up queso dip or even refried beans. Throw in some tortillas for tacos or tortilla chips for nachos and get the party started! 🙂
The sky is the limit when it comes to using a raclette grill. Get creative with themes like surf ’n turf, “raclette breakfast” with eggs and bacon, or even grilled donuts with melted chocolate for dessert. Yum!
Bonus Tips For Raclette Grills
- For best results, oil the top cooking surface before using your raclette grill, and let it sit for about 30 minutes before turning on the heating element.
- After using your raclette grill, clean the cooking surface and pans as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. Melted cheese and other foods can stick to the cooking surfaces and become harder to remove if they’re allowed to sit for too long.
- After a raclette grill meal, get creative with your leftovers to reduce food waste! Even leftover melted cheese can be used in sandwiches, sauces, and pastas.
So that’s the inside scoop on my new favorite cooking contraption! As we continue to inch closer to a post-pandemic future, keep a raclette grill in mind as a fun way to gather with family and friends and enjoy a meal and activity in one! 🙂
Have you ever used a raclette grill?