Monday, July 16, 2007
New World Raclette. As most of you probably know, Raclette is a famous Swiss meal of mountaineers, and those living in that region. It traditionally consists of potatoes, raclette cheese, tiny gherkins, and pickled onions. The cheese, which is made of raw milk and aged, is melted on a hot rock. It was always on my list of things to enjoy while in Europe as it was not easy to find in US markets. It has become more abundant in the US in recent years, and the other day I spied some French-made Raclette in Trader Joe's. I couldn't resist.
Then, not being a mountain climber, I didn't think I needed all the salt in the pickles and an overly starched meal. So I made up my own version, which I've dubbed "New World Raclette", and this is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging , hosted by The Chocolate Lady from In Mol Araan. And swiss chard is my herb. I thought the chard would make nice replacement for the gherkins, and contrast well with the strong cheese.
Swiss chard originally got its name to distinguish it from French charde or chardon. In fact, its origins have been traced back to Sicily. Although available year round, the season for this vegetable is June-August, so it's at its peak. Worlds Healthiest Foods has a chart showing that swiss chard has an abundance for Vitamins K, A & C, and many health benefits have been associated with it.
I chose organic swiss chard, a Hawaiian sweet onion, and fingerling potatoes to accompany the raclette. We sprinkled Hawaiian red salt, and freshly cracked ground pepper over our individual servings. My father every three minutes or so would say "This dish has flavor"! He liked it so well he had thirds. I noticed after making this dish, that Raclette-Suisse has a number of updated recipes using raclette on its website.
We found it paired nicely with cold, fresh strawberries which we enjoyed for dessert, while sitting on the deck enjoying some kayaks and small sailboats go by us.
New World Raclette
1 large sweet onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard (about 6 leaves)
1 pound fingerling potatoes (or bag of Trader Joes)
1 wedge raclette
salt and pepper to taste
Boil or steam potatoes until just tender. Slice and saute onion in olive oil, adding washed and chopped chard to softened and starting to caramelize onions. Chard should be cut in large pieces as it shrinks a lot. Place potatoes in single layer in a long baking dish, top with some raclette, then cover with onion and chard saute after the chard has softened up a bit, and top with a layer of raclette. Bake at 350F for about 12 minutes, or until raclette is melted to taste. Salt and pepper servings to taste at tableside.