-So, first things first… Ahh.
[ Laughing ] “First things first, ahh.” Onion facial. ♪♪ ♪♪ Hey. My name is Paul Kahan, from a whole slew
of restaurants in Chicago. I’m here with my new cookbook, “Cooking for Good Times.”
Good times, good times. I’m gonna demo a raclette
from the book today. Raclette — that’s a cheese. It’s the maker, the cooker,
the tradition. It’s stinky. It’s sort of
a Gruyère-style cheese. And the tradition
comes from shepherds in the mountains in Switzerland,
and what they would do is, they would load their pockets
with potatoes, uh, roast the potatoes
on the fire, and then set the cheese
close to the fire. And as it burned and got
caramelized and delicious, they would scrape that onto
the potatoes and eat it. That’s what we’re doing today,
but we’re doing my take on it, a more modern take. The first thing you want to do
is cut the cheese in not-too-thin, not-too-thick
slices. I like little planks. For me, like I said,
it’s all about the burn. You want to get some nice color
on there, and so if it’s a little thicker, it’ll keep its shape before it
liquefies and get caramelized. It’s really fun. My wife was in this horrific
motorcycle accident before I met her,
in Le Mans in France, and she convalesced
in this town called Geiss, and it’s literally…
It’s, like, the Matterhorn. It’s, like, you are up
amongst the snowcapped peaks, and that’s where, uh… We — We go there.
We do raclette. Uh, the first time
that I went there, we got picked up at the airport. Our friend Verena had a bottle
of champagne in the car. She popped it.
It was 10:00 in the morning. So we drink champagne
on our way, you know, two hours
up into the mountains. And when we got there, this procession of people
started to show up. And so we cooked, and we drank,
and we cooked, and we drank, and I was jet-lagged,
delirious, cried, laughed, fought with my wife,
and met all these people that my wife spent
all this time with and thought, “Man, this is a great concept
for a restaurant,” and that’s honestly
where Avec came from. There — There really are
no rules for raclette, but it always starts out
with potatoes. In this case, we have some
little Yukon golds, some fingerlings,
some purple potatoes, and we’re just gonna boil them
until they’re tender. We don’t want ’em to fall apart,
so a little texture is good. I’m gonna throw some salt
in there. If you want to splash
a little olive oil or a little butter in there,
it’s good. There’s enough fat in the dish,
but, um, I think a little bit of butter, um, is nice. Leeks — one of my
favorite things. You know, the traditional French
leeks vinaigrette is delicious, and I think with skirt steak, with kielbasa, really adds
a little bit of crunch and a little bit of acidity,
which is what we’re going for. We’re gonna use
the white of the leek only and then split them
down the middle. Then cut them in approximately
3-inch sections. Doesn’t really matter.
It’s your preference. So, after the leeks
have been rinsed, they go right into
the boiling water. And we’re gonna boil them
until they’re tender, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. And then into a nice water bath. Leeks can be a little bit
stringy, so we’re gonna — we’re gonna cook that
stringiness out of them. And then we’re gonna dress them with a simple
apple cider vinaigrette. We’ll combine shallot… Always start with shallot. We’ll emulsify it
with Dijon mustard. Shallot kind of straddles
the onion/garlic line for me, adds a lot of depth of flavor,
um, without being too garlicky. And then we’ll add
some fresh thyme leaves. We’ll add some salt and pepper. It is, indeed, salt. Some black pepper. As soon as, uh, they’re not
stringy anymore and still have
a little bit of crunch, they go into the ice water. And remember, we’re gonna put
these on top of the cooker and cook them
a little bit more, so, um, it’s okay
if they’re slightly undercooked. Leeks are underrated, often
misunderstood, and delicious. ♪♪ And then we go in
with our vinegar, little bit of Dijon mustard,
and then olive oil. So, combining leeks, uh, cider
vinaigrette, and mustard seed. And there’s our leeks. So, for raclette, there’s a ton
of different options — in fact, a world of options.
You can use chicken. You can use pork.
You can use beef. Um, today, we’re gonna marinate
a bunch of different meats and vegetables —
red pepper that we’re gonna marinate with oil and vinegar,
a little salt and pepper just to bring out some flavor;
some cremini mushrooms with balsamic and garlic;
skirt steak with — I call it
Tasty Marinade Number One. It’s essentially
a riff on, like, a Seven Seas garlic dressing. We’re gonna get the garlic
going for that right away. Half a cup of garlic.
Cover it with olive oil. And we want to bring it up
to just a light bubble. Um, if it gets a little color,
that’s okay. We want to cook it until
the garlic’s soft, probably about 10 minutes. To marinate the skirt steak,
first thing we’re gonna do is trim it up,
and I like to think about how I’m gonna cut this
into nice bite-size portions. So I’m gonna slice it
right up the middle, clean off the excess fat. And after this is marinated, we’ll slice it
into individual portions, if you will,
and cook ’em during the process on top of the raclette maker. Yeah.
The beautiful thing is, um, all these meats and vegetables
are marinated ahead. Most of the vegetables,
you can do the day before. The meat,
a couple hours is fine. But it all goes in the fridge,
and you forget about it. Your guests come over —
plug in the maker, pop some corks,
start drinking, and have a ball. It’s hard to control the bubble
on the garlic, so I just put it
on and off the heat throughout the cooking process.
You can bring it to a boil. It’s not gonna —
It’s not gonna ruin anything. You’ll see, it will turn
a light brown color, and it’ll be nice and soft.
So I bring it up to a boil, then I push it off the burner
and let it coast a little bit. So, I’m gonna pull
the marinade together — Tasty Marinade Number One. Roasted garlic and olive oil.
And this stuff is nuclear. You can keep it in the fridge
for, honestly, probably a month. Herbes de Provence. I’m not lying about the month. Red wine vinegar, a bay leaf,
chili flakes. My mom used to cook whitefish with Seven Seas
Italian dressing, and that’s where the idea
for this marinade came from. She would, uh, put the whitefish on a sheet tray,
on aluminum foil, pour the Seven Seas dressing
over it, and broil it, and it’s one of
the best things ever. Then I’m just gonna puree
the crap out of this. ♪♪ You see all that awesome
roasted-garlic chunky action? The meat’s been marinating
in the fridge for a few hours. Um, it can go
as long as overnight. Um, you don’t want
to over-marinate it. It’ll change the texture of it
a little bit. And then I’m gonna cut these
into serving-size portions. ♪♪ Tasty meat! So, now that we’ve got
everything prepared, it’s all about the party
at this point. Sit at the table.
Put the cooker in the middle. This is a — a Swissmar.
It’s a good brand. It’s the one that I use.
Before we start cooking, I like to put a little olive oil
or a neutral oil on the top. Raclette’s all about
the cheese, obviously. You take these little
Teflon shovels and you put a piece of cheese
on there, and then the element
that heats from below the top will start to melt the cheese,
and then you load up the top. You drink some wine. ♪♪ This is when
the party really starts. Potatoes on the plate,
some veggies. Every man and woman
for themselves. Everyone sits around.
You drink. You manage your cheese shovel. You take as much or as
little meat as you’d like. So, obviously, the point is
this glorious cheese and dumping it all over
everything that you’re eating. Don’t worry about it. Some people like it
nice and loose. Some people like it
a little bit more well-done. Um, it doesn’t matter.
It’s cooking for good times. The best part — away she goes. Scary, isn’t it? This isn’t something
you do alone. Cheers!
[ Glasses clinking ] ♪♪ For the recipe,
you can click the link below. Make sure you go out
and get a copy of “Cooking for Good Times.”
Swear to God — good times, easy recipes,
delicious food, right? -Mm-hmm.
-Awesome. Yay. ♪♪ There is no way
to mess up raclette. ♪♪ [ Chuckles ] Everything that I’m prepping
goes in my mouth, so I don’t think there’s
any preferred snacking food.