One of the most popular party and holiday dinner traditions in Holland is Gourmetten. This word is derived from the French word “gourmet” – a person who cultivates a discriminating palate for the enjoyment of good food. Gourmetten is the Dutch twist to the Swiss Raclette Table Top Grill dining experience, whereby family and friends get to be their own chef. The original raclette set is about melted cheese, whereby with Gourmetten, the cheese is optional. When I was growing up, this was something special to look forward to; hours of interactive fun with the “do-it-yourself-cooking-around-the-table” Gourmet party set. The other benefit is that the person who does most of the cooking in the house, gets a break. On top of that, it is a budget-friendly way to enjoy a meal with friends and family.
This Gourmet set, or Raclette Grill as they call it outside of Holland, has a non-stick surface grill and a broiler below with little pans. There is another version which has a stone, like a Korean Barbecue. The top plate is used for your favorite seafood, poultry, meat, and vegetables, while your cheese, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and sauces broil to perfection below. Dip your bread in the melted Raclette cheese or the many sauces and condiments. A whole assortment of herbs and spices are also on the table to make other combinations.
With a gourmet party, you can satisfy both carnivores and vegetarians. In Holland, you can just go to the butcher or supermarket where you can find ready-made gourmet trays: chicken filet, steak, hamburgers, pork filet, sausages, and meat balls, all prepared in bite-sized pieces.
Now, you’re probably thinking about throwing your own Raclette Grill Party. Great! Make sure to have following available on your table:
– chopped onions
– cloves of garlic
– sliced mushrooms
– strips of bell pepper
– diced potatoes
– olive oil
– cornichons (baby sour gherkins)
– cherry tomatoes
– curry sauce
– garlic sauce
– cocktail sauce
– béarnaise sauce
– cucumber salad
– tomato salad
– potato salad
Here some examples of other themes:
Indo gourmet: tofu in cubes, eggs for omelets, fish balls, fried rice, sausage, corned beef, fried rice, cooked egg noodles, strips of beef, chicken and pork. Sambal oelek, ketjap manis, peanut sauce, bean sprouts, green beans, shredded coleslaw, and spinach.
Mexican gourmet: nachos, avocados, taco seasoning mix, ground beef, strips of beef, chicken or pork filet, salsa, bell pepper, jalapeños, black olives, shredded cheese. refried beans, rice, etc.
– cod strips, spiced with curry powder, slivered almonds,sautéed spring onions
– salmon strips with dill, mustard, white wine, and a bit of cream
– jumbo shrimps, peeled, and sautéed with finely chopped garlic, bell pepper, and a teaspoon of tomato sauce. Top with sprinkled parsley
– breaded haddock with cold lemon or garlic sauce
– cooked mussels, spiced with garlic, salt and parsley, sautéed with finely chopped onions and topped with cream.
© 2013 Jeff Keasberry