Raclette is a traditional Swiss dish that dates back to the time when cowherds would pasture their animals high in the Alps and camp alongside them. There, they would cut open their wheels of cheese and warm them on a rock by the campfire, scraping the edge of the cheese as it melted over cooked potatoes, pickles and ham for the most rustic of meals. Raclette comes from the French verb racler, to scrape.
- 1 large wedge raclette (about 1 pound)
- 1 dozen cooked small new potatoes, unpeeled
- Assorted pickled garnishes: cornichons, pickled onions, caper berries
- 1/2 pound sliced Black Forest ham
- Sliced ripe tomatoes
Have a knife ready and small plates to serve. Arrange potatoes, pickles, onions, caper berries, ham, and tomatoes on a serving platter. Place cheese on a clean stone or a heatproof board or tile as close to the fire as possible. As the top of the cheese melts, scrape off cheese onto potatoes and accompany with garnishes. It takes some time between servings for the cheese to continue to melt, so have some wine or kirsch handy to keep guests happy.