The raclette oven is popular right now. It is an electric hot plate with, below, a space that accommodates small pans. Slices of cheese are melted in the pans, while meats, vegetables and more are cooked on the griddle. This type of oven serves 4 to 8 people, depending on the number of pans included and the size of the plate. Costs range from $80 to $150.
There are models for 4, 6 or 8 people. Raclette enthusiasts are unanimous: the bigger, the better! Since everyone composes their meal from the ingredients on the table, it’s really easy to welcome a surprise guest…as long as you have enough pans.
- The material
It is either marble or cast aluminum with Teflon coating. Cast iron is popular because it’s a finish that doesn’t stick to food and cleans up in a jiffy. Given the concern that Teflon causes due to the fumes it gives off at high temperatures, we expect to see the appearance of squeegee plates with ceramic coating, but for the moment, no manufacturer offers them. Marble, on the other hand, has an incomparable cachet and cooks seafood to perfection. On the other hand, it is slow to heat up and cool down (difficult to reduce the heat quickly if the food is burning) and is less easy to clean. Good news for the undecided: some devices combine the two surfaces.
The non-stick plate is either ridged (great for searing meats and giving vegetables a grilled appearance) or smooth (the perfect finish for making pancakes for a raclette brunch). To combine the advantages of both finishes, opt for a half-smooth, half-ribbed or even reversible model.
- The power
To obtain beautiful grills, choose a device that can reach 1,200 watts. We forget the 900 watt appliances: their temperature is too low to sear the meat, which will boil in its own juices.
You want to be able to adjust the temperature: maximum for grilling, but gentle for seafood or pancakes. The presence of a dimmer (or thermostat) is therefore essential.
- The heating element
We take the time to lift the plate to see its shape. To distribute the heat evenly, it must meander under the plate. Some entry-level models only have a round in the center, so the griddle bakes unevenly.
Some plates have a tendency to tip over when a guest presses on one side (when putting down or picking up their meat, for example). The oven is handled in store to ensure that the plate stays in place.
- The control button
Is it clearly visible and easily accessible? If it is placed too far back, under the plate, the adjustment during the meal will be difficult.
- The power cord
Unfortunately, the standard cord is always too short: if left stretched from the table to the socket, there is a risk of an accident. Regardless of the quality of the device you buy, for safe use, you will need an extension cord.
Two interesting choices
- Cool Kitchen ECK-54. Oval raclette oven, for 8 people, two non-stick surfaces and one in marble, 1,200 watts, adjustable temperature ($82.50, at the Delmar Casserole Clinic and in Pot Pourri boutiques ).
- Rotel: Rectangular raclette grill, for 8 people, reversible plate (smooth side and ribbed side), solid all-steel structure, 1,200 watts, adjustable temperature ($139, Aux Petits Délices, Clinique de la casserole Delmar and Fromagerie Hamel ).
To do something different: an old
-style raclette The traditional raclette oven accommodates a half wheel or a quarter wheel of cheese, the surface of which is exposed to a heat source and scraped (hence the name) directly onto the plates guests with a knife. Depending on the size of the wheel, it can serve from 4 to 15 people. It’s an expensive device (starting at $250), but it can be rented from some cheese makers. At La Fromagerie Hamel , for example, you can rent a TTM machine that can accommodate, depending on the model, a quarter wheel, a half wheel or even two. The cost: from $5 for the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), plus $300 deposit. The cost of the cheese is extra (calculate $6 to $9 for 200 g, per person).
Recommendations for use and maintenance
To extend the life of the non-stick finish of our raclette grill, follow these tips.
- We never start the device at the maximum temperature: we go there gradually.
- The non-stick coating is fragile: only wooden or plastic spatulas designed for the raclette are used, never a fork which risks pricking the plate.
- Even if the manufacturer indicates that the plate and the pans are dishwasher safe, we do not put them there. The high temperature will irreparably affect the non-stick finish. We always wash by hand and make sure to rinse well to prevent soap residue from blocking the pores of the coating.