We thoroughly enjoy hosting a “gathering” of friends and co-workers for a party. The only problem is getting around to visit with everyone in attendance. It doesn’t seem to matter if there are 20 or 50. With good intentions, almost everyone is personally greeted at the door but if you’re lucky, you may get a chance to say a quick goodbye. Lots of activities and conversations steal your attention throughout the evening and make it challenging to fairly make the rounds. So, this time around, we decided to invite 3 couples for an intimate dinner party of 6. It didn’t take long to decide the menu – Raclette.
What is raclette? It’s a fondue-type Swiss and French meal made with potatoes and melted cheese, but without a pot of melted cheese and long sticks. First, make sure you have a raclette grill. Mine is a square Hamilton Beach grill with 8 cheese trays, but it is best used with only 6 guests. Therefore, if you really want to serve 4 couples, I would recommend Amazon’s Choice SwissMar grill as the grill surface is larger and the rectangular shape would make it easier for guests 7 & 8 to reach.
A raclette party may be the easiest event to prep and deliver. Once you have your guests invited, decide on the vegetables and proteins, plan to do some chopping and slicing in advance but the majority of the cooking is saved for a hands-on, individually directed mealtime. Typically, I prepare…
- 2 small Yukon potatoes per guest, boiled until tender
- thin slices of marinated steak, 1-2 lbs for 6 guests
- shrimp, lightly sauteed
- sausage, precooked & cut into 1/2″ chunks
- steamed broccoli
- roasted zucchini/squash, cut into chunks or slices
- caramelized grilled onions
- sauteed mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 lb. of cheese per guest (raclette cheese, of course; but I often supplement with other European cheeses like Gouda, cheddar or Swiss varieties)
- sliced apples
- pickled beets, gherkins (dill and/or sweet)
- Italian sourdough bread or French baguette, sliced
While I cut and simplistically prep the selections in advance, the work is minimal and some could even be skipped if you prefer to give your guests more control on the tabletop grill. Because I have a smaller grill, there just isn’t space for much more than the meats. Guests select the cheese and quantity, using the mini trays to melt underneath the grill. I kept the prepared veggies warm in the oven until ready to serve dinner, along with the sliced bread wrapped in foil.
Once seated, I introduce the meal to the guests because more often than not, they have never had the privilege of raclette.
- Begin with at least 1/2 a potato on your plate
- Make your selections of protein and begin cooking on the grill space closest to you
- Dish up your vegetables (grill if space and preference permits)
- Select your cheese to melt in your tray
- Top off your plate with bread and any other supplements
- Pay close attention to your cheese because it melts quickly under the hot grill
- Pour melted cheese over potatoes, meat, and vegetables – make each bite unique
Raclette is a meal enjoyed with conversation and collaboration. Share your favorite flavors and combinations. One guest chose to “toast” a slice of bread topped with cheese in his mini-tray to create a mini grilled cheese. He often also added veggies with his cheese to warm together. Most of all – have fun cooking at the table together. I was able to serve a vegetarian and a guest with celiac disease all in one meal – and everyone was full and happy!
Raclette Dinner Menu
That Huckleberry Dessert by Just Janie
Whatever menu you choose the next time you invite friends over, most important of all, enjoy the time building relationships and making memories. Everything will be perfect when you make your guests feel they are the most important element of the evening.
Copyright © 2019 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.