Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Raclette Burgers

So nearly after a month, finally here is post for the much talked about Raclette Burger. I've been kind of lazy about blogging because my food photography is less than par. It's hard to make food look pretty for the camera when you want to eat it right away.

So what is raclette? According to Wikipedia, raclette is a semi-firm salted cheese made from cow's milk originating from mountainous region of Valais in Switzerland (home of the Matterhorn and Lake Geneva). Raclette comes from the French word "racler" which means to scrape. This cheese dates back to the Middle Ages when Swiss cow herders would carry blocks of raclette with them when they would herd their cows to and from the pastures in the mountains. They would place the cheese next to the campfire and when it would reach the perfect softness, scrape it onto some bread or potatoes. Traditionally raclette is served with small potatoes, cornichons (gherkins), pickled onions and dried meats such as prosciutto. Nowadays, raclette is served using an electric table top grill pan that grills the potatoes on top and melts the cheese on the bottom tray. This is how I first encountered raclette. It was at the boyfriend's parent's condo in Mammoth and now, every time we are in Mammoth, we break out the raclette machine. There is something about being in the mountains that makes me crave raclette! But raclette cheese is SO good it shouldn't just be for the mountains which is why I made a hamburger with it!

These hamburgers are AWESOME! I just love raclette cheese with the cornichons. It sounds like a weird flavor combination but trust me, it is the bomb! The hamburger would work well with slices of raclette cheese on top instead of stuffed in the burger. The Amateur Gourmet found pre-sliced raclette which would work perfectly.

If you want to try the real thing and don't want to splurge for a machine, Basilic on Balboa Island has raclette night on the first Tuesday of the month. My friend's parents own the restaurant; her dad is the chef and her mom is the maitre-d. It is a cozy and intimate gem amongst Orange County's overabundance of chains and was named OC's Most Romantic Restaurant by OC Weekly. Be sure to make reservations before dining, especially for raclette night. There are only 9 tables.

TBC Raclette Burgers
makes 3 burgers

1 lb. ground chuck beef 80/20
3 oz. raclette cheese, shredded
Montreal steak seasoning
3 freshly baked hamburger buns
1 bunch of frisee or arugala

for the aioli:
1/4 cup mayonaise
a large spoonful of cornichons, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. cornichon juice


1. To make the cornichon aioli, combine the mayonaise, chopped cornichons and juice, Set aside.

2. Separate the ground chuck into 1/3 lb chunks. To make the patties, take a 4 inch cookie cutter lined with plastic wrap and press half of the 1/3 lb chunk into the cookie cutter. Place 1 oz. of the shredded raclette and then top with other half. Pressed the edges to seal the patties together and lift out of the plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining beef and raclette cheese. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

3. Preheat pan or grill to high. Brush burgers with oil and sprinkle liberally with Montreal Steak seasoning. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side.

4. Lightly toast hamburger buns and generously spread with cornichon aioli. Place cooked hamburger and top with frisee or arugala followed by the hamburger bun top.
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