I first had Raclette cheese when I lived at Lake Tahoe in the ’70s.

There was a bar in Incline Village called the Gasthaus zum Jägermeister that was a bit of an employee hangout after work.  It was where I first had raclette – and the infamous Jägermeister.  I may have had more than that, but to be perfectly honest, my memory is shaky about the place.  I don’t even remember exactly where it was.  But I do remember ooey, gooey cheese atop potatoes and more ooey, gooey cheese and french bread.  It’s surprising I remember anything, considering the copious amounts of Jägermeister and the German beers that were consumed.

I have a hangover just thinking about it.

But massive quantities of alcohol aside, the Raclette was really good.  I think.

Raclette is an alpine cheese made from cows milk that hails from Switzerland and is also made in France.  Raclette, itself, is a French word that means “to scrape” because the traditional serving of raclette is to have it sitting by a fire and scraping off the cheese from the wheel as it melts.  Raclette is also a dish of boiled potatoes, pickled onions, vegetables, and the like that is topped with the melted cheese.  One of the Hyatt’s I worked in served a raclette in one of the bars… I don’t remember which one – I worked in too many of them – but they had a gizmo that held a quarter-wheel of raclette and an electric heating element that could quickly melt the ooey goodness.

An interesting note about raclette cheese is that it really is only good melted.  It is not the type of cheese one would put on a cheese tray.  It wants to be melted.

So I melted it.

Tonight I cooked up a batch of Italian sausage, peppers, onions, garlic, and potatoes.  When everything was properly browned and cooked through, I placed it all in a casserole dish and topped it with slices of raclette.  Into the oven it went until the cheese melted.

It was good enough to bring forward a lot of (vague) memories from 35 or so years ago, so I think I will call dinner a success!