There is a foodie haven in central London known as Borough Market. It’s an institution, and one that can get exceptionally busy. Every Saturday in winter, despite the dreary weather, there is one queue for hot food longer than any other: the one for the Swiss raclette stall.
Essentially, raclette is a medium-hard cow’s milk cheese, which raw is fairly unremarkable. When heated and melted, however, it transforms into one of the world’s ultimate comfort foods – which explains why so many grey-faced victims of London’s dreadful weather find it an irresistible way of banishing of their blues.
Traditionally a raclette cheese is pointed at the log fire in your humble Alpine chalet, and when the end melts it’s simply scraped onto a plateful of either bread, pickles or potatoes. If you are one of those unfortunate cheese-lovers who isn’t in possession of an Alpine chalet complete with log fire, then ingenious Raclette grills can be purchased from “niche” suppliers of kitchen paraphernalia.
So, raclette isn’t a recipe as such, but we’re assuming that you don’t have a log fire or portable raclette grill, so here’s the next best thing – Raclette-style cheese on toast.
This recipe is a particular favourite of our friends at the Cartmel Cheese Company in Cumbria. The reason it’s Raclette-inspired is that one of the cheeses used, Ogleshield, is similar in texture and melts in an almost identical fashion.
In this recipe it’s paired with Westcombe Cheddar, recognised as one of the best Cheddars in England (and therefore the world) thanks to its chalky texture and sharp finish. The addition of crunchy onion makes this a savoury treat for mealtime. Me? I’d have it with a glass of robust port, although if I was going for the full Alpine treatment, a Schneider Weisse beer would be the perfect complement.
Perfect raclette-style cheese on toast recipe
Ingredients (makes 4 slices)
- 120g Ogleshield (or raclette), grated
- 120g Westcombe Cheddar, grated
- 1 egg
- 1 handful spring onions, chopped
- 1 shallot or ½ white onion, finely chopped
- Black pepper
- 4 slices sourdough
Simply mix together the cheeses, egg, spring onion and shallot in a bowl, then grind in some black pepper to taste. Spread the mix on the sourdough then cook under a grill until golden and bubbling.